Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, (SIBO), as the name suggests is a situation where there is an excessive amount of bacteria in the small intestine. Generally it is a diverse range of bacteria that should normally be in the colon. SIBO can cause leaky gut, malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, weight loss and possible osteoporosis.
SYMPTOMS OF SIBO
- Abdominal Pain/Discomfort
- Gas and Belching
COMMON CAUSES OF SIBO
- Low Stomach Acid is probably the most common cause. This can be due to an imbalance between our sympathetic (fight of flight) and our parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. This affects the Vagus Nerve and ultimately reduces the level of HCL secretion.
- Lack of Digestive Enzymes of Bile Flow Inhibition. If our body is not producing enough enzymes from our pancreas this can lead to a build up of bad bacteria as these enzymes help to destroy the bad bacteria. Also, when the bile production decreases this will also cause a build up of bad bacteria in the gut.
- Diverticulitis or Previous Gut Surgeries
TESTING FOR SIBO:
The most common test for SIBO is the Hydrogen/Methane Breath Test. This is a simple non-invasive test. The test is performed by fasting overnight and then eating a sugar that is fermented by the bacteria in the small intestine. They then measure the gases of the bacteria to determine if there is an overgrowth.
NATURAL TREATMENT FOR SIBO
- Focus on Restoration of stomach acid
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation, which is responsible for secretion of HCL from the parietal cells as well as gastric motility. We prescribe specific in office and at home vagal tone exercises.
- Herbal anti-microbials and anti- fungals.
- Specific probiotics to build up the beneficial bacteria
- Lifestyle Recommendations: Stress Reduction to balance sympathetic tone
- Diets like the Low Fodmap, Specific Carbohydrate or Lectin Avoidance Diet have been proven to be beneficial in patients with SIBO
- Oral Contraceptive Pills
- Prebiotics or Fermented Foods
Generally, the protocol takes 3-6 months as we work to support the microbiome’s healthy diversity and remove the dysbiosis causing the symptoms.
If you are interested in a consultation please contact us at 805 482-0723. We are accustomed to doing online consultations.