Your Plan Of Action – The Natural Approach
- Watch carefully for triggers of symptoms
- Check your symptoms against our list below
- Discuss with your nutritionist whether the SIBO test will be the most useful for you or if you might benefit from a different digestive test
- Follow our dietary and supplement recommendations to restore balance to the digestive tract and improvement of your health
Best Test Options: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Test (Breath Test)
SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth is a common underlying cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). SIBO has been shown to be present in up to 78% of IBS cases. Given IBS affects 11% of the worldwide population, this is a truly remarkable number of people. IBS is likely multifactorial but many symptoms can be attributed to a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Causes of SIBO
Under normal conditions, most of the bacteria that live in your digestive tract occur much farther down, in the large intestine. Conditions here should normally prohibit bacterial overgrowth but your natural immune defences can be reduced by stress, some medications and antibiotics. The low pH (acidic) of the stomach juices should also prohibit bacterial growth but this can be reduced due to diminished digestive function or medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPI). When bacteria overgrow, they can sometimes travel ‘back up’ and inhabit the small intestine. This may occur after a physical upset to the digestive area such as surgery, a gastrointestinal illness or a weakness in the ileocecal valve where the small intestine joins the large intestine. Reduced motility is also a major factor, where food is not moving through the gut quickly enough.
Once in the small intestine, bacteria can ferment foods (mainly carbohydrates and specific fibres) before we have had a chance to digest them. They produce large amounts of gas and by products which can lead to the typical symptoms of SIBO.
Characteristics Symptoms of SIBO
- Acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion
- Feeling of food not going down
- Feeling full very quickly
- Feeling of a ‘blockage’
- Irregular and changing bowel movements
Other Symptoms And Conditions That May Be Associated With SIBO
SIBO can also lead to damage to the delicate lining of the digestive tract leading to inflammation and leaky gut. This can give rise to a number of other conditions and symptoms
- Acne Rosacea, skin rashes, histamine-type reactions
- Autoimmune conditions, possibly autoimmune thyroid conditions – and SIBO is more common if you have a hypothyroid condition
- Liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gall bladder problems and gall stones
- Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia
- Malabsorption of nutrients can lead to deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, calcium and other minerals. This can significantly affect energy levels and bone health
- Fat malabsorption is common which can lead to poor skin quality and hormonal imbalances, plus deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins A and E
Can Nutrition Help with SIBO?
If you suspect SIBO, you may already be aware of some triggers that make your symptoms worse such as wheat, garlic, onions, legumes like chickpeas and beans and cabbage.
Certain nutrients can be extremely helpful when you have a digestive problem. You may have deficiencies if you have not been absorbing your food well and these can be corrected accordingly.
Also with digestive problems, probiotics may be needed to recolonise the beneficial bacteria in your gut. You would be advised as to what to take at your consultation.
Tests for SIBO
The SIBO Test is a simple non-invasive breath test. This looks for both hydrogen-producing and methane-producing bacteria in the gut.
Preparation for the test is key to its success. Your nutritionist will guide you through preparation for this test so that results are accurate and reliable. Your nutritionist will also be able to interpret the findings – whether you are positive for hydrogen, methane or both – and this will determine the steps you will need to take next. A full and comprehensive protocol will be designed for you including dietary support, meal plans and recipes.
Where To Start?
Make sure you are eating well and watch for trigger foods in your diet. If you would like personalised advice on what to do next then request a consultation with one of our qualified nutritionists.