Small intestine bacteria overgrowth (i.e. SIBO) is the result of bacteria from the colon migrating up into the small intestine where it doesn’t belong. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, and abdominal pain or discomfort. The causes are many, but a common one is abdominal surgery (having your organs rearranged apparently makes them grumpy). Both my kids were born by C-Section, one in 2004 and the other in 2006. Boom!
The gold standard for testing is a 3 hour breath test which measures hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH2) gases. The day prior to the test you eat a diet of protein and fat only. The next morning you breathe into glass vial once to determine your baseline, then drink a solution that provokes the bacteria in your small intestine. You continue to exhale into a vial every 20 minutes. Test results show your levels in parts-per-million (ppm) of methane and hydrogen gas during each 20-minute interval. Levels greater than 12 ppm combined hydrogen and methane within the first 120 minutes of testing is indicative of SIBO. I reached a high of 62 ppm at the 100 minute mark.
I was diagnosed with SIBO in early October and finally got in to see my doctor yesterday. My test results show that the overgrowth is not isolated to one area, but is rampant throughout my small intestine. It seems my bugs are having a field day in there!
SIBO can be treated with antibiotics or herbal antibiotics, and after consulting with my doctor and doing a bunch of research myself, I decided to go with the herbal protocol. The herbal antibiotics can successfully treat SIBO in 4 weeks for some people, but in my case we’re looking at a minimum of three to four months.
I will be continuing to eat a paleo diet and will only need to eliminate certain foods if I notice they cause symptoms. It’s hard to know which foods are the culprits because I spend much of my time with gas, bloating, discomfort, etc. The idea is to let the herbs kill off the bacteria, and in order to do so, a stricter diet is not recommended. In other words I need to feed ’em in order for the antibiotics to target them without them going into hiding.
Here’s what my daily supplement line-up looks like for the next few months:
Not all of these are specifically for SIBO – I’m also detoxifying from heavy metals, taking my daily supplements, and supporting my thyroid and adrenal glands. But it’s a lot to keep track of. For now we’ll see how my “bowl” system works. Preparation is the key to compliance!
I start this regimen this morning and should see some improvement in the first few days. I sure hope so!