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What Is SIBO?

 

The excessive presence of bacteria in the small intestine is referred to as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). It is said to be a significant cause for malabsorption and chronic diarrhea. The main side effects that are experienced by most patients include nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, and drastic weight loss. There is a misconception that SIBO affects only a limited number of patients, in particular, those with motility disorders or those with an anatomic abnormality of the upper gastrointestinal tract. However, SIBO seems to be generally more prevalent and widespread than ever. With improved diagnostic tests of SIBO, we are able to give the following information which lists causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for SIBO.

Causes of SIBO

a. Bad eating habits:

The excess use of alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and high sugar diets foster SIBO.

b. Damaged nerves:

A damaged muscle or nerve can cause SIBO. It can happen along the gut mucosa lining, resulting in leftover bacteria in the small intestine. For example, when diabetes, scleroderma, and mellitus affect the gut, SIBO may be present.

c. Poor digestive coordination:

Food is properly digested when the enzymes, muscles, nerves, and neurotransmitters are adequately coordinated. Enzymes usually break down the food, which then signals the muscles, nerves, and neurotransmitters to move the food through the digestive tract from the stomach, down to the small intestine, and finally to the colon.This happens only in the “healthy gut” when the bacteria are passed on through the digestive tract along with the food to the colon. If something happens along the way that interferes with this process, then digestive problems occur.

d. Medication:

Some medications influence or disrupt the normal gut microbiota. Such medications include: acid-blocking drugs, steroids, and antibiotics.

e. Physical Obstructions:

Physical obstruction in the gut can occur if surgery has caused a scar, or if one has Crohn's disease, which will then result in an abnormal build-up of bacteria in the small intestine. Instead of passing the bacteria to the colon, some tiny pouches will form along the walls of the small intestine and collect bacteria.

Symptoms of SIBO
SIBO is a condition associated with fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue
syndrome, pelvic pain syndrome, Parkinson's, arthralgias, intestinal cystitis, rosacea, and chronic prostatitis. In children, fatigue is the prevalent symptom.

Diagnosis of SIBO
The best way to ensure that you are correctly diagnosed is by taking a test. Testing and interpretations vary from one practitioner to another in the medical laboratory. The best SIBO testing method according to experts is taking a fasted lactulose test (not less than 12 hours), or taking a breath test, a process that should not be less than 3 hours, using either a home test or one administered in a practitioner’s office.

A completed test should consist of 1 to 2 days of a preparatory diet, a baseline breath sample, and the patient taking a sugar solution or glucose. An introductory diet eliminates foods that bacteria feed on, which gives the body an apparent reaction to the sugar solution only.

Once the baseline level is established, the 3-hour testing commences. The tests are then collected at designated intervals using exhaled breaths via a straw line tube, which is attached to a common device.

The SIBO symposium panels prefer the lactulose breath test over the glucose test since lactulose can easily travel through the small intestine, something that glucose cannot. Testing should involve the two types of inhaled gases: methane and hydrogen. Hydrogen is more associated with diarrhea while methane is associated with constipation. The kind of gas released by SIBO is very important, as it determines the best type of treatment required. A glucose test can be ordered, whereas lactulose is a prescription-only test.

Treatment of SIBO
Treatment of SIBO comes in three easy steps which will completely restore the gut’s natural balance.

a. Starve the growth of bacteria:

The first step is to remove food that bacteria feeds on: sugary foods, carbohydrates, and alcohol. Foods such as bread, cakes, cookies, and alcoholic cocktails, together with those foods rich in carbohydrates, such as legumes and grains are broken down into sugar in the gut, and this is what feeds the bacteria. The best foods to ingest are lean proteins, leafy greens, healthy fats, and fruits.

b. Attack the bacteria:

The antibiotic to use on a given bacteria depends on the dominant gas. Typically, Neomycin works well with dominant methane SIBO, while Xifaxan is successful with hydrogen-dominant SIBO. These antibiotics kill the pathogenic bacteria with fewer disruptions to the good bacteria in the microbiome.

c. Restore the good bacteria:

SIBO bacteria can be treated successfully with a home treatment called Microb-clear,
which is a blend of grapefruit, blueberry, black walnut, barberry, and sweet wormwood. These ingredients work well, naturally killing off bacteria. This is the final step, whereby good bacteria may be restored in the gut to support optimal digestion, a healthy immune system, and nutrient absorption.

Prevention of SIBO
• SIBO is a secondary illness that occurs in the small intestine. In one way or another, it is believed to be caused by another underlying disease. It is therefore essential to keep chronic diseases properly treated and under control to prevent SIBO from further attacking the small intestine.

• Reduce stress, prepare a digestive mix (such as vinegar and warm water) before meals, and be sure to rest after meals to allow for proper digestion to take place.

• Take gastric acid; this is effective in killing any incoming bacteria. It also breaks down fats with the pancreatic enzymes, which further support the breakdown of foods.

• In case SIBO recurs after treatment, do a thorough investigation as to the underlying cause.
The above information, if appropriately followed, can be of great help to those who may be experiencing SIBO symptoms. As the saying goes; "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Stay healthy!