You Have Been Diagnosed With IBS, What Now?
Do you experience bloating after meals, stomach pain, indigestion, or irregular bowel movements? While you may have been told that you have IBS, there may be another explanation for your digestive troubles. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine causing severe gas, bloating, burping, abdominal pain, and loose stool or constipation. The most frustrating part about SIBO is that it is common to feel like the healthier you make your diet, the worse you feel!
What Causes SIBO?
In a healthy digestive tract, most of the beneficial bacteria colonize the large intestine, with fewer numbers residing in the small intestine. When we digest our food, most of the breakdown and nutrient absorption happens in the small intestine. Once the food moves to the large intestine, what’s left is fermented by beneficial bacteria before it is eliminated. Symptoms arise when too much bacteria enters and resides in the small intestine causing an increase in fermentation. The results is GAS…lots of gas. Due to the location of the gas, it often builds up resulting in bloating and abdominal pain.
SIBO can develop for a number of reasons, but most commonly comes on after a bout of gastroenteritis, food poisoning, chronic constipation, or low stomach acid. This is because changes in our ability to break food down properly or speed in which our digestive tract moves alters the way that bacteria grow and the type of bacteria that survive. This results in long term digestive issues.
Common Signs of SIBO:
- Loose stool
- Wandering stomach pains
- Bloating, burping, and flatulence
- Weight changes, stomach distention
- Brain fog
- Food sensitivities – developed over time
Testing and Treating
Since many of these symptoms overlap with other digestive conditions, it is important to seek guidance in treating your condition. The best treatment approach should include a SIBO breath test in order to identify and properly treat the bacterial overgrowth.
After testing has identified the presence of overgrowth, treatment involves several courses of antimicrobial herbs (or specific antibiotics in certain cases), followed by a temporary reduction of fermentable fibers in the diet, and nutrients to heal the digestive tract. It is also important to ensure that you are having daily bowel movements to prevent a relapse in SIBO.
Where To Start?
If you have been experiencing digestive troubles, it is important to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms in order to be treated properly!
IBS doesn’t have to be a sentence that you are forced to live with for your entire life. There is a cause and there is a treatment! When your digestive system isn’t working at its best, it can cause a lot of discomfort and leave you feeling pretty awful. If you are ready to get to the bottom of your digestive concerns, let’s work together! Click here to get started.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND