woman-in-painSIBO stands for small intestinal bowel overgrowth which we are seeing more and more frequently in the clinic. SIBO means the bacteria from the large intestine, or colon, migrates up into the small intestine and begins to create overgrowths. The most common symptom of SIBO is bloating, which is what so many of our patients suffer from.

Research shows that SIBO is more common than previously thought, and that many people with “IBS” actually have SIBO.

Symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

I recently had a patient whose waist measurement increased by 9cm by 90 minutes after meals. This was due to the food hitting that part of the intestines where the bacterial overgrowth was, and the bacteria fermenting the food and producing methane gas. Her SIBO test came back exceptionally high for methane producing bacteria and she is currently undergoing a herbal treatment protocol.

Causes of SIBO

There are two key factors that can increase the risk for SIBO – not enough stomach acid and poor intestinal motility. Structural abnormalities, food poisoning, use of antacids and surgery to the abdominal area can also cause SIBO.

The impact of SIBO

The impact of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine is huge – these bacteria produce hydrogen and methane, which damage the cells lining the small intestine. Leaky gut results, with a reduction in nutrient absorption and an increase in inflammation, food sensitivities and autoimmune disease.

How to Treat SIBO

SIBO is tricky to treat as it involves working out what causes it, following a restricted diet for 12 weeks and either specific antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials. A recent study showed herbal antibiotics were more effective in addressing SIBO than antibiotics so we always recommend natural treatment.

To ensure SIBO doesn’t relapse, the key factor is supporting gut motility, or the wave like contractions that push gut contents downwards. This ensures bacteria doesn’t migrate upwards. The use of a prokinetic, a product that support the motility, is critical to use on a longer term basis to ensure you stay in remission.

What Next?

  1. If you would like to test yourself for SIBO, head to SIBOtest and order the SIBO basic test, and add Studio You as your practitioner.
  2. Go to our website and book in to see one of our naturopaths. Please allow 3 weeks for your test result to be ready


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