Is SIBO to Blame For Your Bloating, Gas and Diarrhea?
Bloating has been made the “norm”, but despite popular belief, it’s not normal to look 6 months pregnant by the time evening rolls around! If you wake up with a flat stomach and feel like your stomach grows 3 sizes by the end of the day, and you just can’t seem to pin-point which foods are causing your symptoms, SIBO may be the culprit.
What is SIBO?
SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Essentially, what it sounds like: an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine, where we shouldn’t have much bacteria. Interestingly, it’s not pathogenic bacteria creating the issue with SIBO, it’s overgrowth of good bacteria. Microbial balance is key to having a healthy, symptom-free gut, and the scales can easily be tipped in the wrong direction. Additionally, patients with SIBO have been found to have low microbial diversity, and diversity is essential for a healthy, functional gut.
According to research, SIBO is thought to contribute to 60-70% of IBS cases, a condition which cause seemed to be a mystery. Symptoms like gas and bloating result from the production of gases, such as hydrogen and methane, when these bacteria get out of hand. SIBO can stem from a number of issues, including low stomach acid (HCl), insufficient enzymes, poor breakdown of foods and poor gut motility.
Common SIBO Symptoms:
- Bloating, especially in the upper abdomen
- Acid reflux
- Gas or burping
- Feeling of a “rock” in your stomach
- Abdominal pain
- Leaky gut
- Brain fog
- Food intolerances
- Undigested food in stool
What You Can Do About SIBO
It’s important to work with a nutritionist or health practitioner to truly address the root cause of bloating and digestive symptoms. Often times, people experience relief with diet changes, such as with a low FODMAP diet, but unless the bacterial overgrowth is addressed with the proper gut-healing program, it can be difficult to resolve on your own without symptoms returning. There are also additional microbial factors that accompany SIBO, such as candida or parasites.
How We Help People With SIBO
Short-Term Elimination Diet
First, we start by looking at what our clients are eating that might be exacerbating the issue and make suggestions accordingly. Refined sugar is one of the #1 culprits in fuelling SIBO, but certain fermentable sugars found in healthy foods like vegetables can also create issues for people with SIBO, so a short-term elimination of these foods can help. Gluten is also problematic.
Remove SIBO Triggers
Second, in addition to foods, we look at eliminating triggers that might be fuelling inflammation and creating imbalances in the gut. We do this with targeted supplements specific to this condition in order to prune back – not completely eliminate – the overgrown strains of bacteria and promote balance.
Introduce Missing Factors
Third, we support the function of the digestive system. This includes bringing in missing nutrients through diet and targeted supplementation, such as B12, iron and zinc that are often low due to malabsorption issues from SIBO. This might also include introducing digestive enzymes and acids to increase the function of the GI tract and better digest foods.
Rebalance and Restore
Fourth, we work to rebalance the system. This includes reinoculating the gut with beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, supporting these good bacteria with prebiotic foods, and further gut healing with foods and supplements that will help strengthen and heal the mucosal lining in the intestines. This last step is crucial to true long-term recovery and avoiding gut issues later on.
Are you ready to finally be free from digestive issues? You can overcome them, start now!
Registered Holistic Nutritionist