SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is a significant health issue with many patients cruising through life not realising that their gut bacteria is severely out of balance. Although we have bacteria throughout the body the highest concentration should be in the colon, however in the case of SIBO we tend to find there’s too much bacteria in the small intestine and an overgrowth has occurred.
These days with our fast lifestyle, fast diets and the use of many different medications we are unintentionally contributing to poor gut health. In particular the use of PPI’s (drugs that reduce stomach acid and are generally used to treat reflux and GORD), alcohol consumption (even moderate can put us at higher risk), multiple courses of antibiotics and the use of medications such as the oral contraceptive pill and anti-inflammatories.
The thing to realise is if left untreated it can cause more serious health issues. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is essential to our overall health and wellbeing and if imbalances occur it can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, malabsorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fats which then lead to other seemingly unrelated health conditions.
Medically SIBO is quite often treated with antibiotics but as we know they will also kill off the good bacteria we need for healthy digestive function and on top of that sometimes that treatment plan isn’t always effective. We can treat it herbally, with diet and with changes in lifestyle so things such as Oregano oil, berberine extract (found in herbs such as Golden Seal and Barberry), as well as Wormwood and Lemon Balm Oil.
Additionally change your diet to a GAPS, Low FODMAP or SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), add in probiotics and probiotic / fermented foods, supplement with either Hydrochloric Acid or use Apple Cider Vinegar before meals to improve digestive function plus eat less food more often to reduce the digestive load.
The most important thing to remember whenever you’re treating yourself is food isn’t the only thing you need to consider. You also need to focus on managing stress, exercising regularly and giving your body the time to recharge and heal (things don’t happen overnight even though we’ve been conditioned to expect them to) and don’t beat yourself up when things don’t quite go to plan.
So until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.