This topic is something that is close to my heart….well intestines really. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO for short.
The reason we are chatting about this is that it consistently comes up with my one to one clients and something I figuring out for myself (not been tested so can’t say for sure) and am VERY interested in as a person who was told I had IBS and nothing could be done.
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But what is it?
It has an acronym so it must be scary right??
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is simply when you get too much of a specific bacteria in your small intestine. You may already know that you have varying levels of bacteria in your intestines, with the most being found in your large intestine. It is like one big bacteria party down in your large intestine whilst your small intestine is a little more reserved with fewer bacteria. SIBO is when the crazy party bacteria from your large intestine travels up into your small intestine and causes a LOT of trouble.
SIBO is most commonly found in people diagnosed with IBS, up to 78% of people diagnosed with IBS are actually dealing with SIBO infection according to this study. The symptoms, therefore, can be very varied and wide-ranging things like; nausea, terrible bloating and/or burping (biggest sign), constipation is really common, or diarrhoea or both, funny skin issues, low energy, mental health issues, brain fog, fatigue, the list is huge. The best way to find out is to complete a breath test from labs like Biolab which will let you know if you have it.
Not everyone can afford such testing, which is the best option, but you can research SIBO and if it resonates with you could assume you have it and test your results by how you feel after treatment. I have found that most people with SIBO have been round the houses with their health, lots of ‘normal’ test results but still feeling terrible, this was certainly my experience.
We know that SIBO isn’t as scary as it sounds but what can you do about it?
4 Steps to Sorting Your SIBO
(I suggest following them in order)
1.Sort out your Diet
This bacterial overgrowth loves sugar, so cleaning up your diet is essential. Remove refined sugar, grains and dairy from your diet and see if this helps you to feel better. You want a diet that is based on whole, nutrient dense, high-quality foods, lots of vegetables, organic meat and wild fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, smoothies and vegetable juices.
Annnnnnd if you know you are a bit obsessed with gluten yet overwhelmed at how on earth to eat a ‘normal’ life whilst being gluten free, then make are you check out my resource below.
2. Stress management
You have got to de-stress, or at least have some overwhelm management within your day, a time when you can process the stresses of the day. For me this looks like a meditation and a journalling practice. For you it may be exercise or just taking deep breaths in…….and out……..ahhh. Simple but oh so effective – your cannot, I repeat CANNOT miss this one out.
3. Have a happy liver
Ensuring that the detox pathways within your liver are happy is essential.
Your liver has two detox pathways and these need to in optimal condition before you try to treat the SIBO (or anything for that matter). You can do this by using LOTS of turmeric, coriander, garlic and green leafy vegetables every single day and adding in things like milk thistle and dandelion.
Also make sure that you are pooping at least once a day, ideally twice as this is going to shift that bacteria out of your body. Another way to help with detoxification is by sweating like a beast! This can be through exercise, saunas, hot baths or exotic holidays in the sun. Sweating is an amazing way to detox the body.
4. Supplement and treat the infection
Is essential that you treat the overgrowth itself with some herbal supplements (natures antibiotics) like wormwood, berberine, black walnut, oregano oil and garlic these really help to shift the infection away from the body. Take these alongside therapeutic based probiotics, I really like soil based probiotics and the Prescript Assist Brand.
Yeast infections often go hand in hand with SIBO (a stool test will reveal this) so using saccharomyces boulardi probiotics can also be helpful for this, but the key is lots of quality probiotics.
Then you need to address any other deficiencies in the body like magnesium or some liposomal glutathione to help support the liver in detoxing the body. A great supplement protocol is essential to shift the SIBO infection from the body but you do need to tailor it to your own body.
When you have done all these things I like to support the gut motility. This can be done in any ways but I like a good ginger supplementation the best as its simple and can ensure that cheeky party bacteria does not travel up again.
It’s worth knowing you can use traditional antibiotics to treat this infection but as I am based in the UK I haven’t found these easy to get hold of through my GP. Which is why I mentioned a more holistic and herbal approach. SIBO is an annoying overgrowth to combat diet or supplementation alone is not enough. You do need to be dedicated to see its eradication but it can be done.
Also, testing helps you to know how severe your case is the level of overgrowth can range by quite a bit. If it is very severe a more elemental diet treatment may need to be adopted to ensure full healing.
For me I am waiting on my test results and still exploring and will keep you posted and updated on my own gut infection eradication and if it is indeed SIBO or something else altogether and how on earth I am getting rid of it!
If you need some help with sorting out your diet and not sure how to go gluten free, then make sure you download my Gluten free eGuide below, with meal plan and recipes to help you get your diet a bit more sorted!
So this is just a we intorduction and I will go into more depth in future – but if you feel like you might have this then make sure you come and chat to me over in my one to one health coaching practice here