My SIBO Journey: The Beginning

This is where I began over a year ago, and let me save you the trouble – this protocol didn’t work. It wasn’t until I found a better doctor that things got better. Check out what worked for me on SIBO Update #4: Complete Protocol Change.

A note to the reader: this is a graphic description of small intestine bacterial overgrowth, my symptoms and my attempts to get well. I’m laying it all bare, here, so if would rather not read about urethras and poo, click away!

SIBO = Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.

Otherwise known as bad bugs in the gut that keep you from digesting foods and absorbing critical nutrients while simultaneously screwing up the morning poo, distending the belly, causing weight gain or loss and disrupting hormone regulation.

Last year, after a round of anitbiotics for a urinary tract infection left me with a candida outbreak (read: systemic yeast infection), I worked with naturopaths to help get well. I took both prescription medications and herbs to help kill yeast, cut out all sugars and stopped drinking coffee and alcohol. While some of my symptoms diminished, like frequent urination, other started to get worse, namely, my digestion. Whereas before I had noticed mild discomfort, if any, during digestion, I was now experiencing very poor elimination (alternating constipation and diarrhea), painful gas and bloating. My signature sign of a bad day was a stomach so distended I looked six months pregnant.

I’m not talking about a food baby, or when women pooch out their stomachs in self-loathing to say, “I’m so fat….” with a sigh. No, this was different. I could wake up, looking like my normal 145 pound self, and by 2pm not fit into any clothing that had closures resembling a waist band. Yoga pants and mumu’s became my signature clothing (lucky for me, I teach yoga, so it wasn’t too strange), and I started storing all of my other pants. The scale only showed about 3-4 pounds of weight gain, about the amount I would experience before my menstrual cycle from water retention. What was wrong? My naturopath thought that maybe I just wasn’t following the candida protocol well enough, and said to hold the course. A body worker I saw said, “You might want to consider a SIBO test,” but my doctor wasn’t convinced.

For a few months, I figured it was just me. Maybe I was getting old, becoming lazy with my diet and exercise, and needed to charge through. I couldn’t find any Ayurvedic information that fit all of my symptoms that I wasn’t already trying, either. So I exercised more – I joined a kickboxing class, walked and ran, did yoga, circuit training and swam. At the same time, my stomach was such a bother that I was eating less. My boyfriend noted that I now ate about a third of what he did, rather than the usual half. I just couldn’t get more down. All this and I was still bloated, the scale creeping up and not down.

About a month ago, I finally decided to try another naturopath. As I explained my symptoms and she gathered information from my body, feeling my tender liver and noting my general fatigue, her eyebrows continued to raise. She ordered a fasting blood draw and a SIBO test. “I’m seeing an incredible number of people presenting with both SIBO and candida overlapping each other. I hope that’s not you, so let’s do some tests to rule things out.”

To make a long story short, it was me. Or rather, is me. The SIBO test came back positive, and the blood panel showed nothing too irregular – taxed thyroid and adrenals (apparently running a business is stressing me out more than I realized), deficient vitamin D (hello, Seattle), low iron stores and extra EOS – the part of my blood that seeks out allergens and parasites.

While that all may sound a bit overwhelming, to me it was empowering. Finally, some conclusions as to why my stomach bloats this way (it was becoming so regular that I started to think it had always been this way) and why I fatigue more easily. When I asked about the weight gain in terms of this diagnostic picture and if I was just eating too much, my doctor said, “No. You have bugs inside you that aren’t letting you process foods and they’re sitting undigested in your gut.”

So what exactly is SIBO, and does it do to you? SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. While some bacteria normally inhabit parts of the gastrointestinal tract, this infection occurs when these types of bacteria overgrow abnormally in areas where so many bacteria aren’t supposed to occur. Not only do these bacteria interfere with the digestion and absorption of food, they also damage the lining of the small intestine. This leads to several problems (taken from siboinfo.com):

  • The bacteria consume food meant for the body, depriving the body of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and leading to conditions such as anemia (low iron)
  • The bacteria consume the food that is unable to be absorbed by the small intestine due to intestinal wall damage, which creates more bacterial overgrowth and resulting damage (a pretty vicious cycle)
  • The bacteria produce certain gases as a bi-product of eating our food, which leads to abdominal pain and bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea
  • The bacteria decrease proper fat absorption, leading to deficiency of fat soluble vitamins A and D and creating fatty stools
  • Through the damaged lining, undigested food particles can enter the blood stream (leaky gut syndrome) where the immune system attacks it, leading to food sensitivities/allergies
  • The bacteria can also enter the blood stream, where the immune system reacts to them, causing fatigue and liver congestion
  • The bacteria excrete acids which, in high amounts, can cause neurological and cognitive symptoms

SIBO is now thought to be the underlying cause for up to 84% of people diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Studies have shown links from SIBO to a variety of other diseases, including autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. There is a lot of great information about SIBO, symptoms and treatment at siboinfo.com.

I am no SIBO expert. I can only speak from the experience I have with my own body. Interestingly enough, I can’t find any Ayurvedic articles on SIBO or the treatment of SIBO, so I’ll probably be writing one soon. In the mean time, I’ll continue to write about my treatment experience in the hopes that it might help or be of inspiration to someone out there.

What Causes SIBO? My Best Guestimate.

There is no smoking gun on what causes SIBO. Research points to an underlying food allergy like celiacs disease or lactose intolerance, overuse of antibiotics, and a diet high in sugars. I was never diagnosed as a child with a food allergy, and my parents fed me healthy foods in comparison to what other kids my age seemed to eat. As a teenager, I often brought sack lunch to school to avoid the greasy lunchroom. In my early 20’s, I was a vegetarian and ate a diet rich in grains and home-baked breads, but rarely indulged in sugar save for a few squares of chocolate. Compared to the general population, I don’t think my diet was at all high in sugars or carbs. But “too much” is always relative, and taking into consideration my highly sensitive body, perhaps it was too much for me.

For someone as sensitive as me, this SIBO infection is probably a combination of a sensitive body and gut and too many antibiotics for my sensitive system. Looking back on my digestive history, I remember now that I had elimination problems such as mixed constipation and diarrhea as early as high school, when blood in my stool lead to a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which showed hemorrhoids. In college, I started having chronic diarrhea and a doctor told me to stop drinking milk for a while, which eliminated my symptoms after a few weeks. In graduate school, the diarrhea returned, along with a sometimes-there debilitating pain in the rectum which doubled me over the toilet for about ten minutes. A doctor then had me start a gluten-free diet, which cleared up my symptoms and healed me enough that, a year later, I was able to resume eating gluten.

After graduate school, I had symptoms off and on, but none were as debilitating as before. When I studied Ayurveda, I really normalized my digestion and elimination through a dosha-specific diet and specific lifestyle routines. I learned through Ayurveda that some of the small symptoms that I considered part of normal living were, in fact, not – rather, these simple digestive maladies were the first signals of a body imbalance. I did my best to work through imbalance and had things fairly under control through my Ayurvedic practices.

In the summer of 2010, I was guiding a yoga-adventure retreat in Sequoia National Park and wasn’t feeling well. I had what felt like a fever, my mucus membranes were dry and I was fatigued. I thought maybe it was the altitude or the fact that I was menstruating. One evening, I developed symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Over the next hour, while I cooked dinner for the participants, the symptoms progressed rapidly and I was forced to seek medical attention – driving myself to a hospital 90 minutes down a one-lane, windy road to a small, beat-up town and greeted by a metal-detecting security system at the emergency room. It was the middle of the night, and the ER staff thought I was trying to get hooked up with pain medications. Treated like a drug addict, they said they’d offer me Vicodin if I could just get someone to drive me home. When I finally convinced them to take a sample of my urine (I think they woke up to my real condition when I demanded a catheter), they realized I had a severe urinary tract infection that was very likely on its way to my kidneys, and immediately administered IV antibiotics and fluids. Once released, I continued with oral antibiotics for another week or two.

Weeks later as my system recovered from the infection and from the antibiotics, I started noticing systemic symptoms – frequent urination not associated with an infection, vaginal yeast infections, alternating diarrhea and constipation, increased mood-swings and increased cravings for sweet foods. It was as if all the work I’d done to regulate my sensitive body had been undone.

I continued to seek balance through Ayurvedic and other natural treatments, and did well for a while. Early in 2013, I again contracted a urinary tract infection, and things went down hill again. After my urinary system had been so badly infected from the time before, I had had only limited success in stopping one naturally (I had done so a few times, with herbs), and this one progressed quickly and severely so, frightened, I went to the doctor. This time, it took two different antibiotics to clear it.

As an Ayurvedic practitioner, I don’t think of myself as someone who rushes to the doctor for antibiotics. I am aware of their dangers and try to avoid them when possible. As a child, I had several ear infections for which I was given antibiotics, and during college seemed to have a propensity for contracting bacterial infections such as sinus infections and bacterial throat infections rather than viruses. As I’ve grown into adulthood, the only times I’ve been given antibiotics is for the aforementioned urinary tract infections.

Understanding why I developed this condition is somewhat of a mystery, but I can draw some general connections to my past. I know that I have a highly sensitive body and am easily affected by all the things my sense organs take in. I know I have a sensitive gut as indicated by the teenage and early adult elimination problems. My predominant diet in my early 20’s was healthy but carbohydrate-centered, and what I now know about the condition of my gut was that I probably couldn’t handle those “healthy” types of foods. I took as few antibiotics as I could, but it seems that even those amounts were too much for my sensitive system. Now, all I can do is move forward with the information I have.

Treatment Plan: Diet 

The goal for ridding the body of SIBO is to first kill the excessive amounts of bacteria, then heal the gut lining and then maintain health. The treatment for SIBO is an oral antibiotic and a strict diet that limits carbohydrates. While there are many specific diets to choose from, my naturopath prescribed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) combined with the Low-FODMAP diet.

The SCD diet limits any carbohydrate chains beyond a monosaccharide; namely, disaccharides and polysaccharids. Monosaccharides are single chain carbohydrates (just one glucose) and include foods like honey and some ripe fruits. These carbs require very little digestion because they are already in the form of glucose, which the body can easily absorb. Disaccharides (foods like table sugar) have two glucose molecules and require further digestion in the small intestine. Polysaccharides (starches and grains) have several glucose molecules, which need further digestion in the small intestine.

Disaccharides and polysaccharids must be limited because when the lining of the small intestine is damaged, as in the case of SIBO and other bowel diseases, what that means on a cellular level is that the digestive cells that capture complex carbohydrates and digest them have been damaged. Instead of a healthy cell with micovilli designed to digest carbs, the damaged cells have been flattened and their micovilli damaged. Effectually, this means that the cells designed to digest these types of complex carbohydrates don’t exist in a damaged gut.

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A healthy cell. From “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall.

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A damaged cell. From “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall.

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The low-FODMAP diet (which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) is a diet that limits foods that are known to ferment in the gut. It is a similar idea to that of the SCD diet with some additional restrictions. These two diets combined are the strictest in the treatment of SIBO, but there are other options for those who have less severe symptoms.

Here is the list I taped in my kitchen to help me stay clear on what I’m eating and what I’m not. Basically, NO grains or starches, lots of green vegetables, homemade 24-hour fermented yogurt (which naturally becomes lactose-free), no lactose (most dairy), no sugar, some honey and fruit and lots of healthy meats and fats. I basically created a chart from these lists.

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Treatment: Antibiotics (irony, anyone?)

There is one prescription antibiotic, Rifaximin (commercially sold as Xifaxan), that has shown to help with SIBO eradication. A 30-day dose of this medication costs $800 and was not covered by my high deductible health insurance plan. However, new studies have shown that herbal antibiotics are just as effective, if not more effective, than conventional antibiotics. I opted for the herbal route.

The two main  herbal antibiotics I’m taking are Mentahril (Peppermint Oil) and Hydrastis (goldenseal). In two weeks, I’ll also start a treatment to kill the biofilm left behind by bacteria and yeast (think of it like the exoskeleton of an insect. I know, it’s gross) called Interfase. It’s important to take these away from food for effectiveness, and to wait at least 4-5 hours between meals so that the gut empties completely. I’m also taking Motilpro to help with gut motility (another problem with SIBO is that it severely limits gut motility, or the ability for the gut to push food through). I’m also receiving monthly treatments of visceral manipulation to help with gut motility.

In addition, I’m drinking a liver detox tea and applying a castor oil pack to my abdomen each evening, and taking activated charcoal to help with any die-off effects (when bacteria inside you die, they can make your body kind of cranky and give you headaches, body aches or mood swings). I’ve also got some adrenal support and vitamin D to aid the whole process. The whole medicine cabinet looks something like this, and I had to pull out the label-maker last night to keep it all straight:

 

IMG_20140906_163136I’ve been easing my way into the diet, and I think I have it down now. I’ve got my yogurt maker working overtime to produce the required 24-hour fermented yogurt and then to make yogurt cheese, and I experimented with an almond and coconut flour cookie that, after trying, realized I didn’t digest well. I’ll be keeping a food journal, too.

I just started the herbal regimen today, so I’ll keep you posted on what I notice — die off, energy levels, and the trials and tribulations of the diet. This initial phase of killing the bacteria is a four to eight week journey, then I’ll repair my gut lining and then maintain. From what I’ve read on the various SIBO blogs and forums, it’s a condition that often requires long-term management.

Like anything that happens in the body, I’m also looking at the subtle-body connections, including the energy, emotions and belief systems linked to SIBO. I’ll be writing about that soon. As always, I realize that this is just another human experience for me to have as a spirit. This is another opportunity for me to learn, to grow, and to understand. It might suck sometimes and I won’t diminish that, but it’s also a great opportunity for reflection and growth, to get to destroy old ways of being in order to make room for the creatively new and inspired. As my astrologer would say to me, “How Scorpio of you.”

76 Comments on “My SIBO Journey: The Beginning”

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey, Anna! I have been on the SIBO journey since the beginning of 2014 and it’s quite a ride. I’m still following the SCD and low FODMAP diet. I am finding this is a situation that requires patience and perseverance 🙂 I wish you the very best and will look forward to your continued sharing and insights.

  2. Thanks, Joy! I’m just through the first couple of weeks, and I can see how this will be a long-term effort. Keep checking back; my next articles will share some of my go-to recipes, as well as an Ayurvedic analysis of it all. It’s nice to know there are others out there on the same march!

    1. thanks for sharing. I got diagnosed with SIBO on Friday and start antibiotics this week. Any updates? How are you now?

      1. Hi Pamela,

        Yes, if you search under the SIBO category, you’ll see my several updates. I hope they help you! Love and hugs, Anna

  3. Thanks Anna for sharing your details about SIBO. I have been suffering from SIBO symptoms for over 3 years, and tested positive with the breath test 2 months ago. I underwent the rifaximin antibiotic course for 10 days, and within 2 weeks of completing it, my symptoms are back. I have come to realize that doing a strict low-fodmap diet is so so important, and very very hard. Taking even small portions of high-fodmap veggies, that is healthy for others, can take me back to square in no time. I was giving up hope after my experience with rifaximin, but reading your article makes me hopeful. Please share your experience after the herbal course, how long you took it, and your results. I am so looking forward to hear positive outcome from you.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m still going strong on the herbal supplements, and they’ve reduced my symptoms measurably. I have more energy, I sleep better, and I’m much less bloated. However, I’m also following the diet protocol fairly strictly, with only a couple of modifications (aka: cheats). I have noticed that when I veer to far off the diet my symptoms come back, so I know I’m not healed yet, which makes sense. As I look back over the years, I can see just how far back this whole processes must have been developing, which gives me an indication of how much time it might need to heal, so patience is key for me. I’ll write another update soon!

  4. Hello Anna,
    Thanks so much for sharing your SIBO journey! I too have recently been diagnosed with SIBO and am feeling quite overwhelmed by all of the information out there…I appreciate that a lot of it may be down to trial and error even though I’d love nothing more than for there to be a ‘one size fits all’ type of protocol! I look forward to reading your updates to see how you are making out! I did have a question for you regarding your experience with taking the Motilpro – I’ve read some reviews by others that they dealt with significant burning sensations with this product. Have you noticed anything like that?

    1. Hi Susan,
      I have had only very small amounts of discomfort with a burning sensation with the MotilPro. I take 3 caps at bedtime, and what I notice is that if I try to wash too many down at once, it’s as if the Motilpro gets stuck and slightly burns the back of my throat. It’s not a huge deal, and I will just swig some water and rub my throat to help it pass. The ginger is probably what is burning (it’s a component of the motilpro). My ND also gave me the option of taking it throughout the day instead of all at night, so that might help with the burning, too. I’ll be writing another update soon! Thanks for finding me!

  5. Hi Anna – thanks for writing this! I am in the same boat after a few rounds of antibiotics in the last year. Luckily, I have a naturopath that is going to set up a protocol, likely similar to yours. Question – did you have a breath test to determine if your bacteria is hydrogen or methane producing? My understanding is that the antimicrobial treatments are different based on which gas is identified in the test so I’m curious if you’ve learned anything about it. Also, how many weeks into the treatment are you?

    1. Bummer that you’re on the SIBO train, Kate, but glad that you’re finding good help! I did do the breath test to determine SIBO, and my bacteria are hydrogen producing mainly. I’m not sure if my treatment focused on that fact or not; in fact that’s a great question to ask my naturopath! Thanks for that reminder. I’m about 8 weeks into my treatment and just had a check up today. I feel like I’m probably about 30-40% improved, not enough to move onto the repair phase of treatment. Instead, we’re going to be changing up my bacteria killing agents and focusing on better detox for another month or so. I’ll be writing another update soon; I wanted to get this appointment under my belt before I reported anything. Good luck!

  6. Anna et al,

    I was wondering if any of you know of a good naturopath in the Central part of Maryland. A few gastroenterologist I have seen so far haven’t been of much help. I had to explain them what SIBO was and beg them to order the SIBO breath test for me. When the breath test came positive, I was then told SIBO is not a true condition and there isn’t much data on it!! Since I get acute headaches from my SIBO condition, and it happens like everyday, all doctors I have seen so far give me migraine medication!!, in spite of telling them my symptoms are food-driven. I have hit a wall in finding a good doctor.
    If your Naturopath provides Skype consultations, then that would be great too. Any reference you can provide will be of great help.
    After suffering for over 4 years, I am reaching the boiling point.

    1. Hi NH,

      I don’t know any naturopaths in that area of the country, but I’m sure you can find one. By doing a quick search, I found this link to a national organization of naturopaths that is currently creating a SIBO center. Cool, huh? There is a search engine on their website to “find a doctor,” where you can search by location. Maybe this will help? www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?edition=101&section=154&article=843

      SIBO is totally a true condition! I’m so sorry you weren’t taken seriously; this is the crime of western medicine – what they can’t explain or fully understand, they chalk up to psychosis. In the mean time, you might want to try putting yourself on a starch-free diet like the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) and/or low-Fodmap diet (mentioned above) in order to start getting some relief. For me, the diet has been the most important piece, and you can be in total control of that! Good luck!

    2. Thanks so much for your article. I just wanted to comment that doctors don’t agree with this but my massive headaches did not go away until my SIBO was treated. Treatment with antibiotics and then following a strict SCD diet finally gave me relief from most of the headaches. Although it is an ongoing battle with the gut. That part is much more doable if I don’t have headaches every time I eat. I have not tried any herbal therapy. Right now I need to be on antibiotics 10 days out of every month. I’m wondering if I can try herbal therapy on my own or should it be under the guidance of a naturopath?

      1. Hi Donna, I always suggest being under the guidance of a naturopath. Even with training and experience, it can be difficult to treat ourselves. You may have noticed through my posts that I have switched from the SCD to a low-fodmap diet, which really helped with my symptoms. I’m glad you found the link between your gut and your head, because its definitely there! Good luck in your healing!

  7. Pingback: SIBO Update #2 – Managing the Holidays |

  8. Thanks Anna for your uplifting and positive attitude around the exhausting issue of sibo. It’s been hell, but I too keep finding the evolutionary significance of a dis-ease state like this as the only way to keep a healthy perspective. It sure does increase empathy. I was curious what your thoughts were about the energetic causes of sibo?

    1. Hi Todd,
      Thanks for the comment. And just for the record, I don’t always feel uplifted about SIBO 🙂 but I do try to keep a long-term perspective. I’m still unclear as to the specific energetic causes of sibo, and like many things, I think the exact causes will depend on the person. That being said, since sibo, like candida, is an infection of a harmful, living substance, I believe it largely has to do with boundaries. I’m a highly sensitive person, and I know that it’s common for hsp’s to have food sensitivities, IBS and autoimmune disorders. I believe this problem has to do with the energy body and nervous system being so highly absorbing. The aura is always in constant communication with everything around it. From energy medicine and Ayurveda we know that the aura/chakra system and the nervous system are often thought of as the same thing, or simply two sides to the same coin. In an hsp, the nervous system processes more information and a deeper level. Also, hsp’s tend to be people pleasers and accommodators as a way to avoid conflict, creating little to no boundaries with others and even the world around them. We also know that SIBO is a 2nd/3rd chakra disorder because of it’s location. The second chakra is the seat of empathy, emotion and relationships and the 3rd chakra is largely how we for an identity that includes these things. Therefor, I think sibo has to do with energetic and interpersonal boundaries, how we relate to the world and how we process stress and emotions.

      But that’s just off the top of my head! This is a long-term project that I’ll continue to explore as my journey with it continues 🙂

  9. Hi Anna,
    I have to say your sight is a blessing. I just was diagnosed with SIBO, but was told nothing more. They put me on medicine, but after 9 days I started bloating and my joints were swollen so they now have me off of it. In the past month I have gained 8 pounds and my body hurts. I thought maybe my body was getting use to my workouts, so I upped everything. I workout 6 days a week. 1 1/2 hours in the morning, 1/2 hour walking at night. My workouts incorporate yoga, pilates, barre, dance, light weights and running. I do meditate to try to help with my mind. I was diagnosed with Celiacs disease over 8 years ago and for the past two years I have been pretty much on the low fodmap paleo diet, but then a month ago I started gaining weight, exhaustion kicked in as well as the pain. Overwhelmed and confusion and frustration are all an understatement. I feel very lost and not sure which direction to go. I mostly eat roasted root veggies cooked in olive oil and coconut oil. I eat a lot of chicken and berries. I included kambucha tea and 90 oz of water a day, so I am not sure what is causing all my recent issues. I try to explain the pain with the bloating and distended belly as well as mood swings and headaches and I’m looked at like I have 8 heads. Im looking into the herbs you suggest, but if anyone can help me start this in the right direction or if you see where Im making mistakes it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Trinity,
      Sorry that you’re suffering! Sounds like there could be a few things going on, and although I have to be clear that I don’t diagnose, I might have some suggestions for you. Do you have a good doctor, one that you trust to help you through the sibo? What I’ve found is that in order to really heal sibo, which is a long process (we’re talking at least a year) you MUST have a good relationship with a doctor who is dedicated to helping you. I recently switched doctors (still seeing a naturopath, and she also does acupuncture) and she was disappointed at how my previous doc was working with me. Because the protocol is so detailed, and is unique to every individual, the old adage of “here’s a pill you’ll be fine” will NOT work with sibo. Sibo requires killing the bad bacteria and then healing each part of digestion in the gut and restoring motility in all 6 meters of the intestines, no easy feat. Also, most medications (even herbal ones) will make you feel worse before you feel better. That’s often part of the die-off process. BUT, once the diet is really dialed in and the medicines, too, then progress is made. At least, this is my understanding and my experience. I’ve also realized how inflammation and internal musculoskeletal issues can play a role. I’ll be writing another update soon, too, about this and my new treatment protocol. I’d suggest finding a new doctor, one you trust and who can work with you regularly. Good luck!

    2. Hi Trinity,

      My experience has been a bit similar to yours – I started having SIBO symptoms when I started working out pretty intensely, lifting heavy weights and doing HIIT workouts >4 times a week, combined with a calorie deficit and a high-protein diet. My staple then was the Quest Bar – high fiber, dairy proteins. This lead to pretty severe bloating and constipation. I can’t say I have found the perfect solution yet, but I have a few cues. 1) your motility is slower when you are at a calorie deficit, ease off on the work outs and try to eat at least at maintenance level for a while, read Leigh Peele’s blog to help you with that 2) ease off on proteins a bit, maybe max 4 oz a meal 3) low Fodmap is a torture for any foodie, but allows for a pretty normal life otherwise. 4) I suspect any fermented food feeds my bacteria overgrowth based on my reaction to it. This includes Kombucha, Kimchi, probiotics and all those things that are supposed to be “good for your gut”.

      I’m hoping to finally get an antibiotic prescription, as the herbal stuff didn’t work for me – the herbal antibiotics referred to by the John Hopkins study where made by Metagenics – look it up, they may help you out. Good luck and take care.

      1. Thanks for the info, CM. Motility is a big one here, which is affected by stress, heavy workouts that add tension in the deep abdominal muscles and adding any more (even “beneficial”) bacteria to the system. Proteins in general shouldn’t create problems with the bacteria in the gut since they don’t feed on them, however, lactose is a huge food source for bacteria so proteins containing lactose – like milk and soft cheeses – should definitely be avoided. High fiber foods and fodmaps are all really difficult to digest since they can feed the bacteria, too. Since I started this journey last year, I’ve realized how important it is to have some guidance and accountability from a really trusted naturopath, even though I know my body well. Good luck to you both!

      2. Thank you so much. I just had a colonoscopy which came back clean, but what was weird to me was I actually felt great that day and a couple days after. I thought maybe because I really couldn’t eat anything, plus the doctor put me on a sample of linzess. I didn’t even think about it, but I did take it really easy with my workouts. Now that I’m back to my intense workouts and normal eating, without the linzess because my insurance doesn’t cover it, I’m starting to feel drained and bloated again. I will definitely look into the blog and herbal antibiotics seeing my doctor told me I am having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he first prescribed. Question though, I drink kombucha tea everyday because I was to it was good and take a probiotic. How is it reverse for you and is this something I sjoukd stop?

        1. My doctor explained that any additional bacteria during acute SIBO can be detrimental to the process since you’re essentially trying to kill everything in order to start over. There are mixed opinions about this. For example, the SCD diet prescribes a 24-hour fermented yogurt as a way to add the bacteria back. However, it also forbids bacteria-laden drinks like kombucha. My fiancee and I brew our own kombucha and I noticed a HUGE improvement when I stopped drinking it (which was sad because it tasted so good!). My non-professional opinion is giving those things a break for a while since SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria, then bring it back once motility is restored.

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  11. Hi Anna,
    Thanks for your article and information! I hope you are doing well. I am starting to think that I have SIBO. I have been to three different GI doctors now and all I have is a diagnosis of IBS, for which nothing really helps. I get so bloated after eating anything to the point where my pants are super tight even if they were lose when I left the house in the morning. Although I am hungry, I definitely cannot eat the same amount of food that I used to. Along with it, I have so much pain, pressure, and gas. I also feel like I am struggling to have a bowel movement. I have had a colonoscopy and endoscopy with no significant results or abnormalities. All the doctors just say oh hang in there or reduce stress, eat more fiber, drink more water (none of which has helped). I am beyond frustrated. I guess my question is do you think it could possibly be SIBO? I have not had the hydrogen breath test. How would you suggest bringing this up to a doctor? I am just so fed up with being told to hang in there. I’ve been dealing with this since September with no relief and feel like it is ruining my life. Thanks so much!
    Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I’m sorry you are suffering! I’m not a doctor and cannot diagnose you, but some of your symptoms could be indicative of a SIBO problem. I would suggest finding a naturopath or other alternative health care practitioner who is familiar with SIBO and other similar conditions, and who is actively working with patients like this. My experience has been that traditional Western doctors don’t have SIBO on their radar and tend to believe it doesn’t exist, which isn’t helpful. Additionally, the advice to “eat more fiber” is actually counterproductive to healing SIBO 🙁 I’d suggest finding a new doctor – preferably a naturopath with experience in SIBO – who will actually listen to your experience and help you. If you’re in the Seattle area, I can recommend a few, so let me know. Good luck!

      1. Hi Anna,

        I was wondering if you could recommend some NDs in the Seattle area that you would recommend to help with SIBO treatment. Thanks!

        1. Hi Lolo,
          Yes! I recommend Dr. Sabrina Kimball with Puget Sound Integrative Medicine. Her office is in Fremont and she’s fantastic! Good luck!

    2. Hi jessica. From my experience with SIBO. This definitely sounds like SIBO the methane kind. I suggest going to a functional medicine doctor with experience with SIBO. SIBO is a new topic even among naturopaths. Im currently seeing one and she is really not that big of help. I seem to have more knowledge than her. My next move is to see a function medicine doctor.

    3. I understand completely. What I did was to find a Gastro that would give me the breath testing kit and I did test positive, so then I had to beg for the Xifaxan. I just started that today and I know my symptoms may get worse before they get better but I have nothing to lose at this point. Otherwise I am in bed with a heating pad all day. I am retired so at least holding a job is not my problem, but I had a very hard time holding jobs for very long because of all the IBS symptoms. Please try this. A lot of Drs won’t look very far to help you, you must make them realize this is serious and not in your head!
      Good luck!

  12. Hi Anna!

    I am so thankful I found your blog – because I am PRETTY sure that I am also suffering from SIBO! About 3 months ago I ended a 9 month cycle of accutane, and for the last 2 months of the medicine/the past 3 months that I have been off of the medicine – my stomach is a mess! I have seen a gastrologist, and he wanted me to be off the medicine for at least a few months before diagnosing me with anything, but I have always had stomach issues and am also lactose intolerant.

    Here is where I am concerned. I eat extremely healthy (mostly a low fodmap diet, but definitely cheat), and I exercise anywhere from 3-6 days a week (running, yoga, cycling, HIIT, softball, etc.) In the last 5 months, I have gone from 120 pounds to 133 pounds – which could be mostly muscle, but still 13 pounds is ridiculous. I feel bloated constantly, am gassy, and go through a mix of constipation/diarrhea.

    I have my next appointment with him next week, but I just want to stop feeling this way! I am going to cut out grains completely – but do you have any other suggestions/thoughts? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Lauren, thanks for reading! I’m sorry you’re suffering 🙁 It sounds like you’re doing some good things as far as low fodmaps/diet are concerned. What’s your stress level like and how are you monitoring that? Managing stress and getting on the same team with my body has been huge, so that’s always something to look at. I’m glad you have another appointment set up with your doc – it definitely sounds like something is going on, yet it is hard to say without a test if it’s SIBO. I would recommend that you make sure you really trust your GI, that he is someone who recognizes conditions like SIBO and Candida overgrowth (some medical professionals think they are “made up” diseases – yeah right, like I can make up that kind of bloating!) so that you can be candid and get the care you need. Fingers crossed that it’s not SIBO and something easier to treat, like an enzyme deficiency or something. If it is SIBO, welcome aboard – feel free to keep us all updated here. I’ll continue to post updates and research as I find it. Best of luck!

  13. I just wanted to thank you for such a thoughtful and thorough post! I’ve since gone through and looked at some of your other SIBO-related entries and appreciate all that you have to say on the matter. I was just diagnosed this month with SIBO after suffering for years; interestingly enough I am also a Seattle resident and was diagnosed almost immediately by a naturopath during my first visit with her! I am currently working with my naturopath to bring down the cost of the antibiotic (xifaxan, which was going to cost close to $600 WITH insurance) through a patient assistance program. My naturopath has also prescribed a low-FODMAP diet for a minimum of two months, N-Acetyl-l-Cysteine, probiotics, and glutamine. Very frustrating to have to wait for the health insurance stuff to sort itself out before I can start treatment, but it’s a comfort to have a plan at least! At any rate, thanks for all the helpful info you’ve shared!

  14. I was just diagnosed with SIBO after many years with IBS-d. I, too, had digestive issues as early as my teenage years – alternating between d and c. As a matter of fact, I started drinking coffee every morning as a way to ensure I had a bm on my c days. About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (based on symptoms alone, no biopsy) and initiated a GF diet. I cheated off and on for a couple of years, but then got very serious and haven’t gone back. I felt better for the first few months, but then my symptoms returned.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve been getting much worse and very diarrhea dominant, with increasing fatigue and anxiety issues. I used to be an avid and extreme exercise enthusiast. I’ve run a couple of marathons, once challenged myself with a half-marathon a month for 13 months (13 13-milers in 13 months!), and was a mountain bike racer among other activities.

    However in the last 12-16 months I am barely able to motivate for a walk. I’m very impressed with all of you who seem to be able to maintain a vigorous workout schedule with SIBO! I want to want to exercise again, if you know what I mean. Just feeling good enough to think exercise would be fun would be an amazing improvement for me.

    I’m starting a 6 week protocol of herbal antibiotics this week, and started the low FODMAP/SCD diet a few days ago. I have dreams at night of eating pizza again, but I know I’m in this for the long haul.

    Thanks for posting/sharing. It’s just nice to know I am not alone on this strange journey 🙂

  15. I think I have SIBO…I’m going to try the peppermint oil and goldenseal. I’m desperate. I feel sick every single day and like there’s a 100 pound weight on my stomach. This isn’t a life I have, it’s an existence and it sucks.

    1. Hi Susan, I’m sorry you’re suffering! I would recommend taking the time to find a good naturopath to help you though it – healing SIBO is a long road and it really helps to have some support and guidance. If you’re in the Seattle area, I can recommend some folks. If not, as painful as it is, I’d recommend searching around. Whatever you try, I hope you get some relief soon!

    2. Hi susan. I have SIBO. I am still dealing with it. But I can tell you what has worked for me as far as bloating goes. There was a point where i could not even eat anything and my heart rate was getting real slow because I guess I wasnt absorbing nutrients like i once has. for temporary relief i Bought over the counter pills for the gas called GAS-X to help draw out the gases. I bought castor oil and rubbed it on my belly over night with a heating pad to help with constipation. And the best thing that has worked for me for the bloating is buying HCL with pepsin to help me digest proteins. Along with some Digestive enzymes. If it werent for these I think I wouldnt even be alive.

  16. Hi Anna,

    I was diagnosed as having IBS eight years ago after I got jaundice. I just didn’t improve after that. IM not diagnosed as having fibromyalgia so the torture is unbelievable! I’m on ayurveda since April. It may have helped a bit but I still feel like crap and have a lot of indigestion. I belch even after drinking water! Charming I know! I really want to figure our if it’s SIBO or chrons etc. Isn’t there a treatment for sibo in ayurveda?

    1. Hi Aiky, even being an Ayurvedic health educator, I haven’t found any very targeted Ayurvedic treatments for SiBO. There are powerful Ayurvedic herbs that can kill bacteria, but for many of us, even the most powerful herbs won’t be enough to help out. The most recommended Ayurvedic digestive herbs aren’t, in my experience with my body, powerful enough to turn around a tough case of SIBO. In fact, some of the dietary advice could be counterintuitive to SIBO protocols. For example, for low digestive fire, Ayurveda often recommends grain porridges or even kitcheri, a dish made from vegetables,spices, rice and split mung beans (which I LOVE) but which is high-fodmap and not recommended for SIBO recovery. There may very well be better Ayurvedic treatments out there from very seasoned practitioners, so if you’ve found someone like that – awesome! Ayurveda is my happy place and I was only really able to use the concepts from Ayurveda about constitution, rather than any specific dietary recommendations, in order to aid in my recovery. Ayurvedic concepts are fantastic but will need to be adapted in order to help with SIbO recovery. Good luck!

  17. I have finally after eight months been diagnosed with SIBO obstructive bowel disease functiona outlet obstruction and am unable to eat solid food without terrible abdominal pain
    I have lost over 65 pounds and was hospitalized this summer for 2 weeks as they attempted to tube feed me. I have really focus ed on in taking protein drinks daily and am able to just stay within low limits of normal protein levels in my blood. I was on a 6 week antibiotic course of riflaximin but within two weeks of completion my symptoms returned with a vengeance and my weight is plummeting. Since my release from the hospital on August 4th I have lost 20 pounds. I am headed for tpn if I can not stabilize my weight. I have been told that SIBO is secondary to an underlying primary illness. I have been seen by the top hospital in my state and at Cleveland Clinic Doctors seem to be stumped.

  18. Hi! Thanks so much for sharing your personal journey. It was very interesting to learn about your story, as I can definitely relate! I too have SIBO, but I have the methane-producing variety, so I deal more with constipation, than with diarrhea. I research SIBO tirelessly (I am a natural health practitioner: acupuncturist, massage therapist, and holistic nutritionist). Your protocol sounds really good, but might I suggest using the biofilm disruptor BEFORE the herbal antibiotics? The reason for this is that the biofilm is, as I’m sure you already know, a very dense, sticky, and protective matrix of mucus that the SIBO and other pathogens live in. Due to this, sometimes antibiotics are unable to penetrate the biofilm to kill the pathogens. Therefore, it makes sense to first eat away and break down the mucus so that the bacteria are then exposed and no longer protected in the gut, and THEN hit them with the big guns (herbal antibiotic therapy). So, to clarify: first, break down the biofilm with systemic enzymes. Then, once the bad bacteria are exposed in the gut, and no longer attached safely to the gut lining, kill them off with herbal antibiotics. Then, sweep away all the debris with activated charcoal, or something like that. Finally, onto rebuilding the gut, with things such as glutamine, probiotics, etc. Anyway, that is how I am doing the SIBO protocol and it seems to helping so far. Thanks so much for sharing your story and hope that we all heal soon!

    1. Hi Kat, thanks for reading and adding your knowledge! I need to update that post, because I ended up following a completely different protocol (post titled: Complete Protocol Change). What I was doing in this post did NOT work, for a variety of reasons that I talk about later. Your system makes sense to me – I wish you the best of luck with it! ~Anna

    2. Hi kat. I have the methane SIBO along with leaky gut (asthma, allergies, ezcema, major food sensitivities), And my naturopath prescribed me with Berberine, oil of oregano, and neem. I just cant do it, it makes my gut spasm up. I can barely go number 2 anymore. Laxatives, magnesium–nothing works to go to the bathroom, i just have to wait for bowel movements to happen on their own. I eat once or maybe twice a day because of my slow transit time. I use HCL betaine when i eat protein and on a AIP fodmap diet but i cheat here n there because this isnt a life anymore. Digestive enzymes give me anxiety. If i use the antimicrobials my anxiety is so bad i cant sleep at ALL through the night. Im at a loss.

    3. Kat thank you so much for the information, you and Anna have provided me with more information than I have accumulated in the entire time that I have been suffering with the SIBO issue. I am a 67 year old female who social life has been affected tremendously by this disorder. My insurance company refuses to approve the prescription for rifaxamin and I cannot afford to pay out of pocket. I am going to go the herbal route and start the formal diet. Kat how long should I allow for the systematic enzymes to break down the mucus wall? Thanks again for the great info coming from both of you.

  19. Has anyone else experienced weight gain with SIBO? Is this common? My doctor thinks that I have SIBO based on bloating after EVERYTHING I eat, excessive fouling smelling gas, belching, hiccups, and a weight gain of around 30 lbs in a year. I work out like crazy and eat healthy- could SIBO cause weight gain? I am starting Xifaxan- any idea when I can expect relief?

    1. Hi Jen, Yes, I totally experienced this! It was difficult to manage because with SIBO I was also really tired, which made it harder to work out as much as I wanted to (although I was doing activities 4-5 times a week anyway). Once I was tested and diagnosed with SIBO, I asked about the weight gain and my doctor said, “Yes, it’s due to SIBO. You have bugs inside of you eating your food, so it’s not getting digested. Plus, your motility is off so food isn’t moving through like it should.” So yes, weight gain can definitely be a factor! Mine all went away though, and I even dipped a few more pounds than normal – probably about three or four months after the zifaxan, on the low fodmap diet, taking care of motility issues and reducing extra tension in my body. Hope that helps!

  20. Hello. I was recently diagnosed with SIBO the methane producing kind. My naturopath has me on Herbal anti-biotics : Berberine complex, oregano oil and neem along with taking a high intensity probiotic called HCL synbiotic Intensive. What I do not understand is why is she having me take all these at ONCE?! I feel like shit. My mind is going crazy. SO much anxiety, panic, depression etc. Shouldn’t I be taking the antimicrobials for a period of time before i Introduce the Probiotic? My adrenals are so low. I feel like I can’t live liek this any longer. Can someone please help?

    1. Hi Chris, That is quite a combo – I’m sorry you’re feeling so crappy. Sometimes during the killing phase we can feel like crap just from die off symptoms, so it can be hard to tell whether it’s working or not based on symptoms. About the probiotic – that’s tricky. My naturopath has me completely off probiotics for a few years, but I didn’t have the methane producing sibo that you do. I think that she mentioned there was a specific probiotic sometimes used, but I’m not sure. Short answer – i don’t really know. Question is, do you trust that your doctor knows what she’s doing? If you stick around here, I’ll be launching a page in the next couple months with info on how to interview YOUR doctor 🙂 Until then, good luck!

  21. I wanted to mention a few different things in the protocol I am following that seem to be helping. My “kill” phase consists of Lauricidin (monolaurin from coconuts), NAC to disrupt the biofilm, enzymes and pancreatin before eating everytime for digestion, and low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) which is a safe new way to treat many conditions, including my fibromyalgia. The other thing I do to detox is a coffee enema every 2-3 days. Most people think this sounds weird, but lots of professionals including doctors know it works. Google it for more info. Good luck everyone…this is quite a journey.

  22. I had a lot of mild gut issues, like chronic bloating and very inconsistent bowel movements, I also had a lot of other symptoms that were pointing to fybromyalgia, lupis, rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms for 3 years and getting worse by the month. Western med failed to find answers so I turned to a highly recommended nutritionist who believes diet can heal, I decided to do this after being diagnosed with iron and D deficiencies and after a complete body shut down after a hard work out when I joined a cross fit gym. I was first tested for food sensitivities (ALCAT test) and I had many, at least 50. The test pretty much proved I had leaky gut and my immune system was being triggered by these particular foods, even healthy foods like avocado and bananas. I began a strict diet for 4 months eliminating all these foods. It took a while but In 5 weeks I suddenly felt significantly better. Weeks later I realized I plateaued. I remember feeling so much better in my early 40’s (I’m 45). My nutritionist suspected SIBO from the start (she believes it contributes significantly to leaky gut (as well as gluten) because it damages the gut lining). I didn’t want to spend the money to get the test at first hoping a diet change was all I needed. Not so. In month 3 I tested positive for SIBO, “borderline” so not severe. I had both methane and hydrogen gases which are produced by two different sibo culprits and require two different antibiotics, one to address each organism. I will take both simultaneously for 3 weeks. I begin on 1/8/16. My nutritionist is adamant about staying on top of the latest research and says you have to nip SIBO in the butt by treating all gases and taking the drug long enough to really kill it all, even though there are no guarantees. New research also shows being “off” the sibo diet during treatment gives much better results because the sibo is active, not dormant. Afterward, I’m advised to focus on a new lifestyle to support a healthy gut, particularly stress and diet. Stress really effects gut motility and bacteria composition. I’ve discovered two supplements that have changed my life these last fews months as far as stress anxiety and mental health go (depression). SAM-E (Jarrows or Natures Made at costco are excellent) and Ease Plus by Health Concerns (only can get from a professional, accupucturist, etc,, do not get on Amazon its not an authentic product). Ease plus healed my adrenal fatigue and heart palpatations in a few weeks, caused by anxiety and fear. I use it every day to keep me even. And SAM-E, well, i have no words, it’s saved me from depressive lows and works very fast, hours, or a few days, at least for me (I’m petite with low body weight). It quickly balances dopaminie and serotonin, 400mg every morning works perfect for me, but you can go up safely to 1600mg a day, start low and work up as needed, no side effects and much more effective than any western med anti depressant I’ve tried. Good luck everyone! I’ll try to report back with my results in a year or so.

  23. I’m so glad I found your blog. I was diagnosed with SIBO in October 2015. I was given an antibiotic and was told that would clear it up and I wouldn’t have to alter my diet. Well, it is almost 4 months later and I don’t feel any better. What kind of doctor/specialist has helped you the most? Or is a nutritionist the best route? I feel so lost!
    Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Betsy, sorry you’re struggling! Unfortunately, the solutions isn’t quite as easy as one antiobiotic and done. If you continue through my updates, you’ll get answers to all those questions. I recommend a naturopath who has a history of success treating sibo. Also look into following the low fodmap diet – it should start to make you feel better right away. Good luck!

  24. Hi,

    I read this article and every symptom you listed sounds just like what I tell my doctors. My parents have taken me to so many doctors yet they are unable to make a diagnosis or just don’t believe me (even though my stomach keeps growing). One of my doctors mentioned potential SIBO, but would not order the test for it. I saw that you lived in Seattle and was wondering if I could get the name of your doctor who diagnosed you with SIBO? I would really appreciate it as my life has only been going downhill… 🙁

    Thank you so much for writing this blog.

    1. I would recommend Dr. Sabrina Kimball of Puget Sound Integrative Medicine in Fremont. She’s brilliant and treating SIBO. Good luck!

      1. Hello, I was diagnosed about a year ago with SIBO. Have tried antibiotics and other treatments without much success. Follow the low fodmap diet pretty well. I read throug all the comments and never see anyone mention probiotics. The GI I see recommended me using them daily but have been reading some articles that suggest maybe they don’t help in SIBO patients. Anyone have any thoughts about this or any experiences good or bad? Thank you!

        1. Hi Angie, with the protocol my ND had me follow, we didn’t introduce probiotics until digestion and motility had been restored – about a year after antibiotics, following low-fodmap, using digestive enzymes and receiving body work. Before we introduced it, she had me try small amounts of fermented foods like yogurt, kiefer, and fermented vegetables. Then she had me on a very specific probiotic that’s safe for sibo. It’s called Lactoprime Plus.

          1. Hi Anna, my name is Anna! I was currently diagnosed with SIBO (bacteria like they’ve never seen before) my small intestines is flooded with bacteria. Your story fits me perfectly. I currently just started Xifaxin, but I’m going to get some of those natural things you were doing to kill it off as well. I shop at whole foods a lot, and prefer to go more of the natural way, but I decided to go with Xifaxin. Im interested in that oil you rub on your stomach. I put peppermint oil on mine every night just because it feels good and distracts me from the awful pain. I would love to talk to you one on one. If you have the time, please email me!

  25. Thank you for this. It’s hard as hell to find a comprehensive story (that actually makes sense, and has research behind it) that is also helpful. I’ve been sick for 8 years and my ammonia levels are through the roof and we are finally figuring out why. Thank you

  26. Hi Anna, I’m so so happy to have found your documentary, I have only my small intestine left due to crohns and many many surgeries. I was doing great until about 9 years ago when the gas, bloating, diahrea began and I didn’t understand what was happening. Not to mention the ungodly odor that accompanied it.you didn’t mention that so I assume you weren’t cursed with that. I’m desperate now. I have gone from doctor to doctor and to UCLA for consults. I’ve been cycling antibiotics now constantly for 7 years with huge success!!! I was so happy to be well, then I hit a wall. One of them, Cipro, and all in that family, as well as Bactrim, stopped working and the foamy output and bloat, and gas and pain and odor came back with a vengeance.
    Tomorrow I begin my Rifaxamin. Never tried it, but been reading for days on what I can do to aid in getting well and OFF antibiotic cycling.
    Question: do you think there’s a light at the end of this tunnel for me? Does the rifaxamin as well as diet you posted, and I am copying btw, get the gut back to some sense or normal? Your reply will be welcomed with a happy heart Anna, like I said, I’m at a desperate point.

  27. Thank you so much for sharing! Our symptoms are extremely similar- and I hope to finally be on the right path to healing myself. I have been dealing with digestive issues for 2 years now and have just now zero’ed in on SIBO and am on my way to finding the herbal remedy(ies) that will work for me!

  28. My dearest,

    I’ve been through almost the same pathways than you, suffering from diahrrea- constipation. After visiting 7 gastroenterologists it was concluded that is about SIBO (since I reacted positively to the two first series of Rifamixin).

    Since I don’t want more antibiotics in my life, I started my own research. I arrived to the same conclusion you did about a mixture of the two diets you mentioned. I’m on my third week, and I’m thinking about take out this portion of infected gut.

    I feel exhausted. Doctors say that the reason is my fibromyalgia and ME. I think that maybe dead bad bacteries aren’t able to find their way out of my body.

    I really appreciate your dedication to heal your body, helping suffering human beings like me.

    If no change will happen I will look for the herbal formule.

    Greetings from Israel,

    Ana

  29. Hi Anna,
    Can 24 hour yogurt be made with a capsule of Lactoprime Plus? If not, what do you use? Recipe suggestion with almond or coconut milk?
    After dealing with this almost a year, I’ve just realized this is an autoimmune condition and the antibodies will always be attacking the vinculin and the IC valve. My hope is to gain weight.
    Thank You!
    Mary Claire

    1. Hi Mary, I’m not really sure. I followed the protocols in the SCD diet book. This was several years ago for me so I don’t remember the specifics. Good luck!

  30. I am interested in the list of supplements that you took and how it is going. My Dr wants me to start Xifaxan. I

    1. Hi Wendy, if you continue to through the sibo posts, especially the one about “complete protocol change,’ you’ll see everything listed there.

  31. I’m looking into SIBO. My stomach always feels bloated after a meal, and as I told my wife, it feels like the food just isn’t moving. I believe I have the methane producing type, because I’m always constipated. Let’s just say, that the workout and diet plan I used to be able to do to stay at a good weight, is no longer achievable today. Today, I can’t lose any weight, even if follow my old diet and exercising and fast for a couple of days before my usual weigh in at the end of the week. And what’s weird about SIBO is that I used to be able to take my normal dosage of synthroid for an under active thyroid, but that dose had suddenly given me neurological problems, even with my TSH being within normal range, as it always has been. Now, I’ve been forced to go down from 175 to 137 mcg dosage. I have put on about 20 pounds since I got SIBO. And ironically enough, it started right after antibiotic treatment for something else. I went to my normal physician and he put me on amoxicillin, but I don’t think that’s going to work, so I’m seeing another doctor tomorrow for the recommended antibiotics.

    1. Hi Frank, I hope you get some answers, and I sure you hope you have a doctor who can guide you through this rather arduous healing process. See my post on “complete protocol change” for the protocol that ultimately lead to my own healing, and how the healing of sibo actually works. Spoiler alert – the antibiotics are only a starting point, they aren’t the thing that heals you.

  32. Hi I’ve been diagnosed with Sibo. It’s good to finally have a name to what I’ve been dealing with for 2 years. I tried to click on your complete protocol but the page won’t come up. How are feeling these days? My doctor put me on the low fodmap diet and Xifaxin but took my off of the low Fodmap diet after a month and is now having me do an elimination diet but from everything I’ve read it’s important to do the low fodmap diet so I’m not sure why he took me off of it .

    1. Hi Kimberly, I’ve been feeling all well for over a year now (so healing can happen!). I don’t know your specific case, but mine was bad enough that I had to stay low-fodmap for a year. If I didn’t, symptoms returned pretty fast. Everyone is different. I would ask – has your doc worked a long time treating sibo? Up on current research? Has a wide range of tools? I had to change doctors three times before I found a keeper. Good luck!

      1. He said he was up to date on it but I’m starting to wonder now. I’m glad your feeling better and for a year! That’s exciting! I felt like by the time I got diagnosed I knew more about SIBO than my doctor. I had very high numbers when I did my breath test. 81 in hydrogen. Is your complete protocol up on your site yet? When I looked yesterday it wouldn’t come up.

      2. Hi Anna, it appears your updated protocol page is down. Any chance you could post it again? I know there are some of us that are very interested in what worked for you. Thanks!

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