Are You Living With Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when excess bacteria from the large intestine begin to grow in the small intestine. Although an abundance of bacteria typically grows in the large intestine, a healthy small intestine naturally has fewer bacteria overall. In some cases, however, bacteria can actually begin to overpopulate the small intestine. Unpleasant symptoms can occur when conditions such as irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or other bowel disruptions cause bacteria to begin growing in the small intestine.
What are the symptoms of SIBO?
Unfortunately, while bacteria in the large intestine can be healthy, bacteria in the small intestine can actually block nutrient absorption. In severe cases, this can result in poor vitamin absorption, fatigue, and unhealthy weight loss due to malnutrition.
SIBO can also cause unpleasant digestive symptoms including bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, and cramping. Often times SIBO will cause terrible bad breath in an individual. Symptoms can fluctuate and may persist for decades without treatment. This usually leads to a condition called “leaky gut” in which the cells in the intestines lose their tone. The tight junctions between cells loosen and undigested foods, toxins and microorganisms can “leak out” into the bloodstream. This causes lots of inflammation in the body that can manifest in painful joints, muscles, skin irritations, rashes and eventually in autoimmune diseases.
How can SIBO be treated?
Some healthcare practitioners choose to treat SIBO in the short term by prescribing antibiotics that will eliminate bacteria in the small intestine. However, symptoms can recur even after antibiotics have been prescribed, and negative side effects can occur from long-term antibiotic use.
Fortunately, there are safer options available for treating SIBO. Herbs such as olive leaf, and goldenseal along with silver sol, can be used much more safely than antibiotics for long-term treatment of SIBO. In addition, probiotics can safely help rebalance intestinal bacteria without the unpleasant side effects of antibiotics. For permanent healing, addressing leaky gut must also be addressed.
Your natural health care practitioner can help you determine whether your digestive symptoms are caused by SIBO and will help you create a personalized treatment plan.
To learn more about treating SIBO or other digestive disorders, please contact us to see how we can help.