What is SIBO?
The small intestine is the organ into which your stomach sends its food for further digestion. The primary function of the small intestine (SI) is the chemical digestion of the food, absorption of the nutrients from the ingested food and directing your body’s immune system..In other words, your SI plays a major role in providing nutrients for your body to create energy and develop immune elements to keep it safe. So in order to digest food, your SI requires enzymes and bacteria which are produced by your body. The end of your SI hooks up with the Large Intestine (LI) which has thousands of more bacteria. There are both healthy protective ones and unhealthy dangerous bacteria in the LI. Your health depends on the friendly ones being more numerous than the dangerous ones. Your health also depends on the LI holding onto them because if they go backwards into the SI you have trouble by the name of SIBO.
You can see that the type of bacteria and their location are important keys to your health. If your unhealthy bacteria outweigh the healthy ones in your LI and back up into your SI, you may get SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). This disordered bacterial overgrowth inside of the SI is a recipe for pain and other digestive symptoms. These may vary from constipation to diarrhea to malnutrition to problems with immunity. While it is a natural bodily function to grow multiple types of bacteria in your digestive tract, SIBO arises out dislocation of LI bacteria into the SI. Sadly, the SI cannot control their growth rate leading to their undesirable excess here. This causes more symptoms which can be dreadfully uncomfortable. Plus they prevent absorption of nutrients that your body needs to make energy and help its immune system.
In many ways, SIBO may cause various forms of malnutrition as it robs the body of nutrients. So as SIBO gains strength by gobbling up your nutrients, day and night, you are hard pressed to be energetic and healthy as long as this continues.
Signs You Have SIBO
There are many symptoms that can be associated with SIBO. One common complaint is bloating which occurs very soon after a meal, particularly if that meal includes certain foods: simple and complex high carbohydrates foods from sugars to starchy veggie.
The bloating is often with gas, either belching or flatulence. Intestinal cramping may follow with a watery evacuation of undigested food from the rectum (diarrhea).
Abdominal pain with or without gas is common and can occur anywhere from the groin area to the chest. It is wise to have this medically investigate to rule out other serious problems too. Inflammation of all sorts can be behind this group of symptoms.
Abdominal pain can also alongside cramping either diarrhea or the opposite, dry, hard stools that are difficult to eliminate (constipation).
Skin problems may arise, like rashes and itchiness. This may be due to malabsorption of the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and even K.
The sensation of full stomach although only a small amount of food has been ingested. This may be fairly brief to hours in duration.
Other obvious and not so obvious signs potentially associated with SIBO are weight loss, food intolerances, chronic illness, leaky gut.
How to Test for SIBO
If you or a person that you know experiences the above-mentioned symptoms, it is really is important to receive a qualified diagnosis and have a treatment plan made for you by a licensed doctor. For instance, Naturopathic Doctors are knowledgeable about the signs of, the testing for and treatments for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.
The principal purpose of testing is to recognize the type of SIBO that you are experiencing. You may have either the Hydrogen SIBO or the Methane SIBO or both. The type will define your treatment protocol. If anyone is having those above-mentioned symptoms, it is essential to meet a doctor for medications. The relevant doctor will examine the signs and knowing your medical history the doctor can treat you with the treatments. The principal objective of the testing should be to recognise the type of SIBO as there are two types of SIBO as Hydrogen SIBO and Methane SIBO. The treatments are different from each other according to the type of SIBO which the patient suffers.
The BREATH TEST is the favored lab test and can be considered the standard method of diagnosing SIBO.
So, what does The BREATH TEST involve?
First, you follow dietary suggestions prior to the test for 1 to 3 days.
Second, you fast for 12 hours prior to your test. Most normally overnight with the test
taking place in the morning in the convenience of your own home.
Third, you will capture an exhalation sample in a tube before beginning the BT.
Fourth, you will ingest a sweetened drink that is included in the test.
Fifth, you will wait for 20 minutes before you collect your next exhalation and will
continue to take samples over the next 3 hours.
Sixth, you will give your doctor the vials containing your exhalations, which will then be
evaluated at their lab for their concentration of hydrogen and methane over the testing
Seventh, once the lab results return to your doctor, the results will be reviewed and assessed and utilized by your doctor to design a program to decrease the hydrogen or methane SIBO. Your Naturopathic doctor will present you with these findings
Eight, you can begin your program. Because learning about how to take care of yourself is key to your success, you will do well to follow your program closely and make the necessary appointments with your Naturopathic doctor.
The most common lab testing method is the breath test. This can be even called as the standard method of diagnosing SIBO. The patient should fast for 12 hours to participate in this test. The breaths are exhaling with a certain level of hydrogen and methane, and by this test, it measures the level of hydrogen and methane. The patient should breathe into a small balloon or to a small tube to measure the concentrations. This process has to be repeated for several times within 3 or more hours after every 15 minutes. The test will examine whether the level of hydrogen or methane is increasing or decreasing. This repetition is done after giving a small piece of sugar or a little sweet drink which feeds for the bacterias in the small intestine.
There are other methods to assist with the assessing for the presence of SIBO. For instance, the Organic Acid Test uses the patient’s urine sample. While this is a simpler method, it also gives more information as to other microbial guests in your gut. This test measures organic acids given off by pathogenic bacteria in the gut which have been absorbed into your bloodstream. These acids find their way to the kidneys and thus into the urine from where they are measured. The presence of specific organic acids is the tip-off that unfriendly bacteria are trying to and even successfully tipping the balance in favor of themselves. This leads to symptoms. However, this does NOT measure the methane or hydrogen SIBO.
Such as the urine sample can be another diagnosing method of SIBO is the Organix Dysbiosis test which is done by the urine of the patient. This method is more simple and easy because one piece of the urine specimen is enough to examine the level of hydrogen or methane in the intestine. This urine test diagnoses whether the patient is affected by SIBO or not as the urine can be used to examine the bacterial infection. However, this test does not recognise the type of SIBO as hydrogen SIBO or Methane SIBO.
A Comprehensive Stool Test is yet another tool used to find indications of the presence of SIBO This stool test is done to examine the flora of the large intestine. This includes its beneficial and harmful bacteria fungus, yeasts and parasites, which may be causing chronic digestive or neurological symptoms /illnesses. Additionally, sensitivity tests on identified microorganisms allow for heightened precision in medications.
Finally, another basic method of testing the SIBO by the symptom checklist. This is done by a Naturopathic doctor who will review your medical history and often do a physical examination.
NATUROPATHIC APPROACH TO TREATING SIBO
The battle to overcome SIBO is not an easy one. However, naturopathic treatments are helping the patients to dampen down the small intestine bacterial growth. Many of these doctors prescribe antimicrobial drugs as the medications for this intestinal disorder. I believe that the ideal medication to recover from this disorder is threefold.
First is follow a diet plan which supports the diminishment of undesirable microorganisms,
Second, make certain that you ingest the medications and nutrients prescribed as you go through the phases of treatment. The foods that you will be asked to use will change through the phases as will your medications.
Third, remember that you will have good and not-so-hot days, that is for sure. Your Naturopathic Doctor is there to support your efforts and give you advice according to your requirements. It is not surprising to find your emotions may be involved in your process. It may be very helpful to remember while dealing with the SIBO situation.
You are welcome to work with me on your digestive issues.