Do you feel irritable, nervous, shaky, or light-headed between meals? Do you have difficulty eating large meals in the morning? Do you feel fatigued after meals? Do you have sugar and sweet cravings after meals? Do you have an increased appetite? If so, you may be experiencing early SIBO symptoms.
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a severe health issue that ultimately affects the small intestine in the digestive system. This gastrointestinal (GI) tract condition happens when the bacteria that generally grows in several different regions of the gut begin to grow in the small intestine. SIBO can commonly cause pain, discomfort, and diarrhea, among other symptoms. It can also cause malnutrition as bacteria utilize the human body’s nutrients.
What are the Symptoms of SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, is a serious condition that includes symptoms which can commonly affect the gut. These can include:
- pain or discomfort in the stomach
- a general feeling of fullness
- weight loss
What are the Causes of SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a severe health issue that is unfortunately not yet fully understood by researchers and healthcare professionals. According to research studies and clinical trials, however, this gastrointestinal, or GI, tract condition can ultimately happen when the small intestine is anatomically abnormal, due to pH changes in the small intestine, when the human body’s immune system isn’t functioning accordingly, or due to malfunctions in the muscular activity of the small intestine which can commonly cause food and bacteria to remain and not be removed from the organ.
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is also commonly associated with a variety of health issues. These can involve the following, including:
- a stomach bug, known as viral gastroenteritis
- celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- low stomach acid levels, known as hypochlorhydria
- IBS or irritable bowel syndrome
- portal hypertension
- nerve damage
- several gastric bypass procedures
- surgical interventions which cause strictures or adhesions
What are the Risk Factors of SIBO?
Moreover, researchers and healthcare professionals have determined that an underlying chronic health issue and a previous surgery or surgical intervention that affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can be several risk factors of SIBO. Other wellness problems which can ultimately cause SIBO include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- narcotics or drugs/medications which slow down the digestive system
What is the Diagnosis for SIBO?
If you’ve experienced any of the SIBO symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor immediately. The doctor will ask the patient about their symptoms and medical history. The doctor will also perform a physical examination which may include palpating or gently feeling the patient’s abdomen. A qualified and experienced healthcare professional may also order additional blood, fecal, and/or any other tests to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
A breath test is another common test utilized for the diagnosis of SIBO. Excess bacteria in the small intestine can cause the release of hydrogen and methane, two common gases which can be identified through a breath test. This test is non-invasive and can be performed in a doctor’s office. Before a breath test, the patient will need to fast overnight. During a breath test, the patient will first breathe into a tube. Then, the patient will take a specialized sweet drink provided by the doctor and they will breathe into several other tubes at regular intervals for 2 to 3 hours after taking the specialized sweet drink.
If common tests for SIBO are inconclusive, the doctor may need to sample the fluid from the patient’s small intestine to see what bacteria is growing there.
What is the Treatment for SIBO?
Common treatment approaches for SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial growth, can ultimately include a combination of antibiotics and diet modifications.
Treatment for SIBO first involves getting the bacteria in the digestive system under control. This is generally achieved by utilizing antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), metronidazole (Flagyl), or rifaximin (Xifaxan). Further treatment for SIBO may also require intravenous (IV) therapy for nutrition and fluids if the serious gastrointestinal (GI) tract condition has ultimately caused malnutrition or dehydration, among a variety of other symptoms.
Although antibiotics may help reduce the amount of bacteria in the small intestine, however, these will not always help address the underlying chronic health issues that caused the wellness problem in the first place. If the qualified and experienced healthcare professional determines that the patient’s SIBO is due to an underlying chronic health issue, the patient will also need to begin treatment for that wellness problem. Diet modifications may also help treat SIBO.
Further research studies and clinical trials are still required to demonstrate if diet can cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) but, many people with SIBO have reported feeling relief from their symptoms after diet modifications. Talk to your doctor before making any modifications to your diet.
Furthermore, people with SIBO or other chronic health issues may only need to make small diet modifications to treat their symptoms. These can include:
- Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
- Consuming minimal meals more often to prevent having too much food sit in the stomach
- Avoid eating gluten products, if you have celiac disease or any other similar chronic health issues
The doctor may also recommend the patient to try an elemental diet to help treat SIBO. An elemental diet replaces food and drinks with several liquid formulas throughout an extended period of time. In one small-scale research study and clinical trial, approximately 80 percent of participants with SIBO had a normal breath test result following an elemental diet for 15 days.
The researchers ultimately determined that an elemental diet may be a highly effective treatment approach for SIBO. However, further evidence is still needed. Talk to your doctor before starting an elemental diet and follow their instructions.
Taking probiotics may also help restore the gut bacteria. A 2010 research study and clinical trial demonstrated that probiotic treatment can be more safe and effective for SIBO than taking antibiotics. However, a 2016 review determined that further evidence for the efficiency of probiotics in SIBO treatment was ultimately inconclusive. The best treatment approach for a patient with SIBO is to follow a qualified and experienced healthcare professional’s advice.
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a well-known and often severe health issue that generally occurs because of an underlying chronic condition or disease. Common symptoms may ultimately determine the presence of SIBO. In addition, if the patient has a chronic health issue, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, they should talk to a doctor to develop a long-term treatment plan. SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is treatable. If left untreated, this gastrointestinal (GI) tract problem can also cause dehydration and malnutrition. Patients should contact a doctor immediately if they suspect they have SIBO so that they can begin treatment right away. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
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- Madormo, Carrie. “Everything You Should Know About Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).” Edited by Suzanne Falck, Healthline, Healthline, 14 June 2017, www.healthline.com/health/sibo#symptoms.
Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic Pain
Sudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate neurological diseases. The Neural ZoomerTM Plus is an array of neurological autoantibodies which offers specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus is designed to assess an individual’s reactivity to 48 neurological antigens with connections to a variety of neurologically related diseases. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus aims to reduce neurological conditions by empowering patients and physicians with a vital resource for early risk detection and an enhanced focus on personalized primary prevention.
Food Sensitivity for the IgG & IgA Immune Response
Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate health issues associated with food sensitivities. The Food Sensitivity ZoomerTM is an array of 180 commonly consumed food antigens that offers very specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. This panel measures an individual’s IgG and IgA sensitivity to food antigens. Being able to test IgA antibodies provides additional information to foods that may be causing mucosal damage. Additionally, this test is ideal for patients who might be suffering from delayed reactions to certain foods. Utilizing an antibody-based food sensitivity test can help prioritize the necessary foods to eliminate and create a customized diet plan around the patient’s specific needs.
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