Original post date: 7/11/16
Sooo the results are in… I have SIBO! I know a lot of you don’t know what SIBO is, I didn’t until recently. I also know a lot of your are struggling with symptoms of SIBO and are wondering how to get a diagnosis and treatment. So, I’m going to go over all of this right here, right now. Ready, lets go! 😉
What is SIBO?
SIBO stands for Small Intentional Bacteria Overgrowth. Basically, what happens is the bacteria from your lower intestinal system start growing up where they shouldn’t be… aka your colon bacteria grow way closer to your stomach than your anus. This can happen for a lot of different reasons, no one really knows why, it could be an obstruction or nervous system problems, but usually its not a pinpointed problem. For me, I think its because I used to take a lot of antibiotics for my skin and I probably killed off all of my good bacteria and then the colon battery saw a chance to grow in my small intestine and threw a party up there!
This isn’t that bad except it causes some annoying symptoms. This usually includes: bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For me, I have been dealing with stomach aches and bloating since I can remember. All my regular doctors just told me I as crazy. They told me I’m lactose intolerant, which is true, but my symptoms are still present and I don’t eat dairy anymore. I even had doctors prescribe me water pills because they said I’m just retaining too much water! WHAAATT?! It was crazy, and I knew I wasn’t imagining thing, so I switched to seeing an N.D. (naturopathic doctor). More on this below…
How do I get tested?
The first step is to find a doctor that knows what SIBO is. A lot of traditional M.D.s will not know what SIBO is, or won’t bother testing. This is why I switched to seeing an N.D. She is way more informed about integrative health than regular M.D.s and although I don’t really agree with some homeopathy that N.Ds prescribe, she has been very helpful in taking a holistic approach to any of my ailments. I talked to her about SIBO and she called in the test for me. Here’s how it works…
First, the test is ordered from the SIBO center. Here’s their website , you can check it out but you cannot order form them, the test has to be called in by a doctor. Once your doctor calls in the order, you will go to the website and pay online. Then you wait for it to be mailed to you! You have to prep with a special diet for a day or two in advance so clear 2 days for when you will prep and the day you will take the test. You want to STARVE the bacteria so the diet is pretty much meat, eggs, water and possibly rice. That’s about it, yes, it sucks. You fast for the night before and the next day you wake up and take the test for 3 hours! In the morning you can have water but that’s it. You breath into a bag with a test tube attached to take a baseline sample and then you drink the solution they give you which is basically sugar for the bacteria to feed on After that you take a sample every 20 minutes. The test will pick up the levels of hydrogen and methane produced by the bacteria. You label all the test tubes with what time they were taken and that’s it! After you finish the test, you just mail it in and wait! Your doctor will recieve the results and call you.
What do I do once I get tested/diagnosed?
Assuming you’re results are positive, you will be prescribed antibiotics. Some doctors try treating SIBO with HCL supplements which you take every time you eat and it increases your stomach acid. This can be helpful but it takes a lot longer to be effective. The antibiotics they usually prescribe are specifically for SIBO. I had to order mine from Canada because they cost upwards of $300 in the USA. These ones are called Rifaximin, they are special because they don’t get absorbed so they stay in the intestines and do their job. The other antibiotic I was prescribed is Metronidazole, which is available for cheap in the states. These two antibiotics together help to eradicate the bad bacteria. I’ll be taking them together for 14 days.
After treatment with antibiotics my doctor prescribed a low FODMAP diet. It is basically Paleo AIP! Fodmaps are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, can you see the problem here? If they don’t get digested, the bacteria have food and keep growing! I already eat Paleo so I’ll just have to add a few more restrictions like no broccoli or apples. It’s going to be hard to limit the veggies and fruits I eat, but I think it’s worth it!
Life after SIBO treatment
Not to sure about this part because I haven’t even started my treatment yet but I will update this post when I finish treatment and keep on updating you guys!
Thank you for all your support, I hope this post helps some of you figure out your SIBO and get help!