5 important things to know about SIBO

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 3 April 2018

There has been a lot of information floating around about SIBO on the health blogs these days. It seems that SIBO is the new Candida and everybody has it.

But what exactly is SIBO and what are 5 things you should know about it?

SIBO is an acronym for small bowel intestinal overgrowth. It occurs when there is an overgrowth of normal commensal bacteria in the small intestine. These bacteria should be located primarily in the large intestine, not the small intestine.

Symptoms that patients will complain of can include: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, and food intolerances. In fact, 60% of IBS cases can be attributed to SIBO.

So what do you need to know to get the correct diagnosis?

  1. The gastrointestinal symptoms are caused by food reactions but they are fermentative reaction, not an immune reaction. If your IgG food allergy test is negative you might have SIBO.
  2. Bacteria love all carbs, including complex ones, where yeast tend to love sugars. Cutting sugars and simple carbs out of your diet will not resolve all your symptoms if you have SIBO. Doing the proper testing to see whether you have a fungal or a bacterial overgrowth, or both, is important.
  3. The amount of carbohydrate the patient eats matters. The higher the amount of carbohydrate in the diet the more likely the patient will have symptoms. This is regardless of the type of carbohydrate. Too much bread can be just as aggravating as too much rice, or even too many raw veggies.
  4. A low FODMAP diet will not help all patients. In fact, no one diet is going to be a perfect fit for all patients. Finding the right diet that works for you may take some time.
  5. Diet alone will not fix the problem. A combination of antimicrobials, digestive enzymes, prokinetic agents, and a low carbohydrate diet has the most successful outcomes.

So how can you test to see if you have SIBO and not just IBS?

The two tests I use most frequently with patients are the IgG food allergy test (Rocky Mountain Analytical) and the Organic Acids Test (Great Plains Laboratories).

The first one rules out any immune reactions to food that could be causing the symptoms and the second one determines whether there is a bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth in the gut.

These tests are available to any patient at Quinte Naturopathic Centre. if you are not a patient you would be required to complete an initial assessment with one of our doctors.

Now I would love to hear from you! What surprised you the most about this information on SIBO? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

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