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SIBO: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

SIBO: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Are you looking for help with your gas and bloating from someone in Ottawa?

If so, then you are in the right place.

Today I am going to talk about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of SIBO?

Let’s jump straight in.

Your microbiome is the collection of microbes in and on your body, which offers a mutual benefit. The health of your microbiome affects your overall health. Human cells that compose you are dwarfed by the number and variety of microbes those cells house.

Your microbiota, the friendly microbes in your gut, help to digest food, strengthen your immune system, defend your intestines from unfriendly bacteria, and heal your gut. The balance of your microbiota lies in a complicated relationship between your genetics, diet, environment, and social circles.

It is one of the defence systems, along with stomach acid and peristalsis, that your body uses to keep out unwanted organisms from the small intestine. When one or more of these systems fail, SIBO is possible.

Peristalsis, the muscular contraction of your intestines that moves food through the gut into the colon, is impaired in people with SIBO.

Peristaltic waves during your unfed state act to sweep unfriendly bacteria into the colon, limiting SIBO.

The vagus nerve controls peristalsis in your rest and digest state, and the strength of your vagus nerve can alter your heart rate and breathing rate.

Why is this important?

Variation of your heart rate and breathing rate, known as respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), can improve the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and digestion. RSA is more significant in children and athletes than in the elderly, and many RSA is associated with better mental health and positive social interactions.

You can enhance your RSA by practising yoga. Interestingly, deep laughter also stimulates the vagus nerve, causing RSA. Like to sing in the shower? Singing and making music also enhances RSA.

What about SIBO and its relation to Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

If you have IBS with SIBO, you require digestive support and eradication of bacterial overgrowth. More than half of all people with IBS and about half of all celiac cases have SIBO. SIBO symptoms overlap with the gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain that is common in IBS.

In celiac disease and SIBO, intestinal inflammation and a leaky gut reduce nutrient absorption in the small intestine. As a result, people with SIBO are typically deficient in iron and vitamin B12, nutrients that are absorbed in a healthy small intestine.

A lack of peristalsis also affects the secretion of bile for the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) in the small intestine. In SIBO, some bacteria also digest bile before your body can use it, further contributing to fat and fat-soluble vitamins ending up in the toilet.

Weight loss due to malnutrition is a common symptom in long term SIBO.

How is SIBO diagnosed?

Hydrogen and methane breath tests are used in the diagnosis of SIBO. First, you need to fast, then consume a lactulose or glucose drink. If SIBO is present, bacteria in the small intestine will begin to digest the sugars into hydrogen and methane before the normal colonic bacteria do the same.

Using diet to reduce methane and hydrogen-producing bacteria

There is no one size fits all approach.

The FODMAPs diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), or Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) may work for some people, but not others.

Identifying your individual food triggers is important. Sometimes a combination of the previously mentioned diets is what works best.

It is important to eat foods that cause bacteria to ferment carbohydrates when starting treatment because it will lead to a more efficient eradication of SIBO.

Once bacteria levels and SIBO symptoms are reduced, you will enter a recovery phase to rest and replenish your gut. Certain strains of probiotics can alleviate SIBO after short-term therapy. Ask your Naturopathic or Functional Medicine doctor which strains are most appropriate for you. Managing SIBO in

Managing SIBO in day to day life

Successful treatment of SIBO relies on a holistic focus. Equal emphasis should be placed on eradicating bacteria, repopulating with probiotics, restoring peristalsis, avoiding food triggers, and healing the gut. Above all, know that your road to recovery will be a bumpy one because relapses often happen.

Understanding your mental-emotional health and its relation to SIBO should be a long-term goal to build defences against stress in your life. Awareness of the connection between your mind and body is what will lead to building back your digestive defences.

It’s no wonder that a relaxed state and laughter improves digestion. Also, finding enjoyment in exercise will result in improvements in peristalsis.

Finding something that brings you joy, something that leads you to more self-expression is what will result in a truly meaningful change.

Did I Miss Anything?

Have I answered all your questions about SIBO?

Do you have unanswered questions?

Either way, feel free to leave a comment below.


This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.