Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Do you often feel constipated? If so, you might have SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).
If you're like most people, you've probably heard of SIBO, but don't know what it is. SIBO is a very common condition, affecting up to 30% of the population. However, it is often misdiagnosed or overlooked because of its nonspecific symptoms. SIBO is a treatable condition, so there's no need to suffer from its symptoms.
So what is SIBO? It sounds a little scary, right? SIBO is more of an annoyance because it can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort, and more.
It happens when there is an increase in the amount of bacteria or the wrong kind of bacteria in your small intestine. It’s not necessarily always bad bacteria or pathogenic (disease-causing), but these bacteria are simply in the wrong “neighborhood” of your body. Many of these microbes are better suited in the large intestine. There can be many causes for how this happens.
SIBO can cause constipation, and constipation can also cause SIBO. So how do you know if you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? There are a couple of different types of testing we use to find out!
You can do either a breath test or a stool test. The breath test will give us insight into what’s happening in your small intestine, while the stool test will tell you about your large intestine. Primarily, we would focus on breath testing so we can get a more accurate look at what’s happening with the small intestine.
We also take into consideration what symptoms you may be experiencing, like gas and bloating. We also ask patients if they have ever noticed relief in their symptoms after taking antibiotics. Regardless of what a patient is taking the antibiotics for, if your answer indicates that the symptoms improved while on the antibiotics then that's also an indication that you may have SIBO.
Again, the bacteria that causes SIBO is not always what we consider ‘harmful’ bacteria. These bacteria are likely just misplaced and trapped in the wrong place, and end up in your small intestine instead of your large intestine. The lack of motility and peristalsis in the intestines is what can lead to symptoms like constipation. Motility refers to the natural ability of the organisms, or bacteria, to move spontaneously. Peristalsis refers to the rippling or contracting motion of muscles in the intestine (or other similar organs) that helps to propel the contents forward. If either or both of these mechanisms aren’t functioning properly then the contents of your intestines will likely stay stagnant, and this can lead to problematic symptoms.
Gastrointestinal Health Supplements
After we have done the initial testing to determine if you have SIBO, we can look at specific diet plans or consider the addition of supplements that can help improve your symptoms. One of the products we love to recommend for SIBO is GI Benefits by DaVinci Labs. It’s a berry flavored powder that can be mixed into your favorite liquid or smoothies. Another supplement we often recommend is GI Revive by Designs for Health. It has marshmallow root in it along with a lot of other healing agents that are similar to those in the GI Benefits. Another good gut health supplement is a peptide called BPC-157, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
SIBO and Sugar Cravings
Eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs can encourage growth of these bacteria in your small intestine. One supplement that we recommend to help with those sugar cravings is buffered Vitamin C. Some people will try to switch to artificial sweeteners to replace traditional sugar sweeteners but we should also be mindful to use those in moderation. Even artificial sweeteners can add to that vicious cycle of amplifying our sugar cravings.
However, if you must indulge, we recommend the following:
Snack on dark chocolate, and shoot for 80% or higher. Break off a little square, or you could even cut the square into four more smaller squares to keep those portion sizes small. Most people only need a bite or two to curb that craving.
Try drinking a warm cup of tea. If you need to sweeten it, we suggest using organic Stevia drops (as it has no added ingredients), and only use one or two drops of sweetener.
Stress Induced Eating Habits
When you're stressed, it can cause your adrenal glands to become unbalanced and that can increase the cravings for unhealthy foods. If you find you are having issues with stress eating or eating out of boredom, we recommend finding activities to occupy and redirect your mind during these times – the goal is to get you up and moving, instead of sitting down and snacking. Why not try going for a walk around your neighborhood, or spend some time doing your favorite hobby. Maybe you’d enjoy playing a game with your family, or getting in a quick meditation session. The key is to keep it simple!
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of SIBO, don't hesitate to contact us. We can help you get relief from your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience necessary to diagnose and treat SIBO quickly and effectively. Don't suffer in silence; let us help you get on the road to recovery.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional