SIBO Update #5: My experience through antibiotics and the aftermath

I am feeling kind of snarky this morning and almost named this post, “Get out your fat pants! It’s digestive reset time!”

But I didn’t, so that you might decide to read it. You’re welcome.

Beware – like usual, I’m going to get real in this post and talk about the things that happen in a body going through digestive reset. Things my mother might wash my mouth out for saying. Things that non-SIBO sufferers would probably judge me for. Things “ladies” are not supposed to say.  I say it here because, first, F that crap, and second, I value honesty and authenticity, which means I put myself out on a limb sometimes. It’s a precarious vantage point.

Life During Antibiotics

About four weeks ago now, I started down the synthetic antibiotic route for SIBO. You can read about the theory behind this protocol here, in my last update, but basically, the idea behind using this antibiotic is to kill all the bacteria in the gut as a way to gain traction and clear the slate so that healthy digestion can be restored.

Imagine for a moment a new born baby. What do they do? They eat, they burp, they spit up and they squirt out poop in a variety of colors and consistencies. Depending on what’s in momma’s milk, they may experience gas or bloating and go between crying and laughing between bouts of gas pain. Their digestive system is learning how to function and their gut biome is developing, which is a process. Some days better than others. This is about how I’ve felt for the past few weeks. Minus the spit up.

For the first two days or so on the Xifaxan, I felt a bit more tired than normal and developed the headaches and mild mood swings that I have come to associate with a die-off effect. By the end of week one, I felt pretty good. The main things that got me through these weeks were very good hydration (water and warm herbal tea), stocking up on low-fodmap meals for the week so I always had something to eat, and reducing my stress levels as much as possible. While on the antibiotics, things weren’t too bad.

Life After Antibiotics

When I finished the two week course of Xifaxan, I started taking 50mg (a very, very low dose, just 1/4 of a pill) of Erythromycin, another antibiotic that is supposed to act as a motility agent. I take this 1/4 pill at bed time, along with 2 caps (600mg) of my Tri-Magnesium supplement. Before the antibiotics, I was down to just one Tri-Mag as a way to help keep my bowels moving. Once the antibiotics ended, so did my ability to digest just about everything, and I had to increase my dose of magnesium to make sure I was eliminating daily. Constipation has been a problem for me since the antibiotics ended, along with other things that come from constipation. Ouchy things, like stomach aches and hemorrhoids.

About two days after I finished the Xifaxan, I started getting really bloated again, about 1 or 2 hours after a meal, with lots of annoying burping. I scheduled a visit with my naturopath, who assured me I was right to come in. She reminded me that this is a process, that it’s fine for me to check in. After a quick work-up, she concluded that my stomach and upper small intestine were not producing the enzymes needed to digest my meals, so my food was probably sitting in my stomach causing upper belly gas because it was fermenting (I didn’t have flatulence, just burping and bloating). She gave me a digestive enzyme from Thorne Research called Bio-Gest. It includes all kinds of interesting ingredients, including Betaine Hydrochloride, L-Glutamic Acid Hydrochloride, Pancreatin (pancreatic enzymes from animal sources), Ox Bile Concentrate and Pepsin.

Apparently, this is the mack truck of digestive enzyme supplements. She prescribed one before a meal. I was still having a LOT of trouble digesting, though. Four days later, with no relief, I emailed her and she upped my dose to two caps before a meal. Now I can finally digest things! Well, low-fodmap things, anyway.

The email I received from my ND reassured me again – this is process, it takes lots of management to reset digestion, we need frequent visits to make the next steps. So far, the two caps of digestive enzymes combined with the erythromycin and magnesium have made things better. The goal now is to restore each section of digestion – the digestive enzymes of each organ in the system in order – as well as restore motility. I have another appointment in about four weeks to reassess how I’m doing.

Thoughts, Feelings and Reeling in the Mind

Although this process is uncomfortable, I feel confident about my recovery. When I think about the major changes that my GI tract is going through it allows me to be gentle with myself through the process. In two weeks, I sent in an army to kill off everything – good guy and bad guys. Now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that battle. This is what antibiotics do, both the synthetic and the herbal. The herbal route may be easier on the body, as it takes longer to kill the bacteria. It also takes longer to kill the bacteria. There is no smoking gun root cause with SIBO – it’s a chicken and egg scenario whether digestive enzymes and motility were reduced first, or too many bad bacteria moved in. In order to start over, the bacteria need to go. This provides a clean slate for restarting digestion and repopulating the gut with good bacteria.

This is a big process. I have a physical heaviness in my stomach. I feel heavy. Digestion takes up about 20% of our body’s energy and I’m restarting the whole system – so when I feel tired, or moody, or that I don’t have the amount of energy that I want, I remember that. I’m resetting the system that turns food into tissue, the system that provides nourishment.

Although I’m not gaining weight, feeling fat or even pregnant has become part of my daily again. It brings back uncomfortable memories of my past, when I suffered an eating disorder and punished myself for being fat. I gently remind myself that those feelings are in the past and I look at the evidence in front of me to find peace. Evidence – I enjoy two or three kickboxing classes a week, one or two walks in the woods, and daily yoga/somatics practice. I eat three, small (because I can’t eat much at once) low-fodmap meals a day. I sleep 8-9 hours a night. I practice constructive rest pose to relieve stress and tension. I meditate. I am healing.

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Writing this post, feeling pretty good!

Some days are better than others depending on what I eat, how well I take my enzymes, and how well I handle stress. I’ve put away my skinniest jeans for now and packed up my belts. I’ve pulled out my wide-legged pants, baggy tunics and splurged on a new shirt from my favorite company to reward myself for my efforts.

The whole process reminds me of when I deep cleaned my house about a month ago. When I was in the thick of cleaning, my house was a mess – the appliances were pulled out into the middle of the kitchen and bathroom so I could get into the corners, the couch cushions were bare with their covers in the wash, piles of crap moved from their corners to create newer, sorted piles. But I kept scrubbing, working diligently from one end of the house to another. This is how deep cleaning is. We might feel worse before we feel better, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. My self-awareness practice has helped me learn to realize the difference between healing and hurting, and I really feel, as uncomfortable as it is, that I am healing.

Thanks for all your comments on this journey – I will keep posting updates!

 

48 Comments on “SIBO Update #5: My experience through antibiotics and the aftermath”

  1. Thanks again Anna for sharing your unfolding story. Wishing you well and I for one appreciate your candidness and hope you continue to update us.

    By the way, I’m thin, not fit unfortunately, and rocking a sad middle tire around my waist due to this SIBO and I’m wondering if Sibo is causing you or your readers bloat all over. My pants are way too tight not just because of the 10 speed tire. Are you experiencing overall bloat too? When I talk about this at work, they say oh no Ali you look great and still thin and I’m like my problem is that I’m full when I shouldn’t be. I force myself to eat nutritiously yet my body is not absorbing the food…..just the f-ing bacteria is going to town on my nutrition. I feel like I should be a good 7 lbs thinner. I don’t care about this vanity wise…..well maybe a little. I just want to be hungry and digest. Whatev….gonna keep plugging along.

    1. Hi Ali, Yes, I believe it’s my sibo that’s creating bloat around my whole abdomen. I’m not experiencing bloat in other parts of my body (which would probably more like water retention anyway), but definitely my whole abdominal area. I think your coworkers are right – it’s much less noticeable from the outside. I try to keep my body comfortable while in this process and, like I said in the article, look to the evidence to keep my head straight (eating good food, working out, etc.). There are 20 feet small intestine alone in our bodies, not to mention a stomach and colon, and if all of those feet are re-learning how to do their work, it’s going to cause some bloat all the way around the abdomen. It helps me to visualize the anatomy 3-dimensionally – it’s not just the “belly” that’s having the problem. It’s the whole 20 feet of intestine as well, which curls around most of the lower part of the abdomen, from front to back and side to side. If there is excess gas in this system due to poor digestion, you won’t just feel it in front, you’ll feel it everywhere – it may even press against your diaphragm. This whole-system perspective can be helpful.
      Glad you have an ND you can trust – good luck with your treatment! I’ll continue to update 🙂

  2. I too experience the SIBO bloat and it is not just around by abdomen. My thighs can get two sizes bigger overnight. Jeans can fit fine one day and then, BAM, I feel like im going to pop the seems. It’s those times I resort to my old stand by, dresses and leggings – baggy dresses, nothing that cinches at the waist!! My friends dont understand since I too am a thin woman. They think I am just being insecure when I tell them I can look/feel 5 months pregnant. It is nice to hear from others that are experiencing the same things. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the responses and hot dress by the way.

    Here’s an update. I get the antibiotic today. I told my ND and she recommends that I take the following 3 supplements all at the same time 3 times a day while on the antibiotic:

    Iberogast: 30 drops 60-90 minutes after eating and no eating 60-90 minutes after taking drops

    Berberine and Allimax: 1 cap each three times a day

    I spoke to a nutrionist over the weekend and she said that I should not live on a restrictive diet while taking the antibiotic (except for gluten because I have celiac). She said I should eat high fodmaps, etc.

    I’m hoping this is going to be a positive adventure.

    1. Hi Ali,
      That’s interesting about the what the nutritionist said. Honestly, it doesn’t make much sense to me from a SIBO standpoint since you’re trying to kill the bacteria, so why feed them at the same time, right? But I’m curious as to how it goes and hope it works for you! Enjoy the adventure 🙂

      1. Thanks Anna. The theory is that if you follow low fodmap and scd while on the antibiotic the bad bacteria that feed on the sugars and starches go into hibernation and do not get killed because they are hibernating. A leading dr. on sibo recommends the same thing. His name is Dr. Pimental or something like that. As the bacteria feeds on certain foods you kill them. That’s the theory and it seems counterintuitive, but I’m pretty desperate and will follow it until the antibiotic is done and then will go low fodmap and scd.

        1. My first round of antibiotics, I started the SCD/Fodmap diet on day 1 and continued the diet after. I did a two week course of Xifaxan and Neomycin. I felt GREAT on the antibiotics (head clear, waking up refreshed and not tired), except I suffered from terrible constipation which has never been a problem for me. I got the C under control with magnesium and epsom salt baths and started feeling amazing. Once I was done with the antibiotic course, I didnt feel as great (started getting brain fog and tired again) and my SIBO came back less than a month after I was off the antibiotics. My second round of antibiotics, I told my doctor what I read from Dr. Pimentel about eating foods that feed the bacteria while you are on the antibiotics to bring them out of hiding, and she said I should go for it. I started the antibiotics, along with my Magnesium to get a head start on the C, and ate a ‘normal for me’ diet. Basically everything but Gluten and Soy, because I am allergic to them. This time, I didnt feel that great on the antibiotics. I felt pretty normal for me (tired bloated brain fog etc). I got off the antibiotics and started the SCD/Fodmap diet and felt INCREDIBLE!!!! For about 3 weeks I felt so healthy and energetic and skinny!!!! My stomach felt so flat, I couldnt believe it. And my energy levels were out of control. It made me realize how NOT WELL I have been for all these years. Sadly, the SIBO is back. It took over a month this time though, so I feel there was progress. I am taking E-mycin for motility (1/4 of a pill before bed), but there must be an underlying reason I am not staying better. I have cheated a little on the diet (a couple corn chips here, a glass of wine there), but maybe I need to be 100% strict with it in order to heal. I am curious if anyone here has been 100% strict with the diet and still had the SIBO back?

          1. Thanks for sharing! While disheartening that the sibo returned so seemingly easily, it really intrigues me what is going on behind the scenes here. Since my work is mostly noticing patterns in the energy body and emotional body, I’m going to be launching a study here soon to look at the more subtle components that might be contributing to SIBO – often, these emotional or energetic patterns are the root causes of our dis-eases, and I’m curious if there are some connections for SIBO-sufferers. Since it’s difficult to read myself accurately (it’s hard to be neutral with myself!) I hope to have a few volunteers to help me study this. Keep reading for when that launches!

      2. hi all in my research I’ve heard the same thing the idea is that while you are on the antibiotics at the beginning at least bring everyone to the party bring all the little bugs out of the woodwork’s so that the antibiotics can get rid of them then slowly at the end of treatment time of the antibiotics be back on the diet

        1. Yep, that’s definitely a theory, and I think even Dr. Pimentel mentions it. I didn’t do it, but it didn’t seem to make too much of a difference since the real healing seems to be taking place after the antibiotics. If you try it, Robin, let us know how it goes!

  4. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for a great post. On Ali’s last comment regarding eating High-Fodmaps during the antibiotics course, I read a similar recommendation in Dr. Pimentel’s book. I believe he also recommends Rifaximin and Neomycin for Constipation type IBS / SIBO. I was just curious if this is something your doctor had considered and if this could perhaps explain why you are still experiencing bloating symptoms? Did you get a second test after your antibiotics to confirm whether there was still overgrowth?

    Best of luck and keep us updated on your progress!

    1. Thanks for the info, Caroline! Yes, what I referred to as Xafaxan is the name brand for Rifaximin, so that’s what I did. I’ve been using a small dose of erythromycin for motility (i.e. constipation) issues, which I believe is similar in purpose to the neomycin. The theory about the high fodmaps now makes sense to me when you explain it – I remember doing something similar when I was doing a Candida protocol. Right now, I’m actually not constipated; all of my bloating and gas are in the upper intestines and stomach, which IS improving with the use of digestive enzymes. We are planning to retest in a few months when we have a better understanding of how things have settled. Based on how I was feeling, this is what she recommended. I’m planning to go and see my doctor in the next couple of weeks for some digestive support via acupuncture, and I’m seeing my visceral manipulation person today to help restore more motility in my organs, so I’m hoping this will all help with some of the symptoms I’m still experiencing. I’ll be sure to keep you posted! Thanks for all your comments, everyone!

  5. Everything sucks. I’m still bloated with sibo/ibs-d after 6 days on the antibiotic. I don’t know what to do. I can’t wear a fitted tank top and it was warm beyond belief finally in NY today. When I did what my ND told me to do – the berberine, allimax, and iberogast I had liquid you know what. I can’t imagine that is good for me. So I’m going to stop that.

    I guess some other woman wrote this on another thread about cheating on diet. I got an email about it, but don’t know the thread. I have no clue what to do and what is cheating and what is not. I wish I could help her and me. I can tell your reader that I did cheat last year when i went from going to bathroom from 20 times a day to 3 that I did cheat with dairy and sugar in my coffee and also drank wine. I haven’t met the nutritionist yet because I need to tell her all of my supplements and i plan to that this weekend. Hope all is well.

    1. Ali – Just wondering if you are feeling any better? It sounds like you were experiencing intense die-off symptoms. Die-off should only lasts up to 7 days. That’s what Ive read and experienced any how. I hope you got through it okay. I am waiting for a appointment with a new doctor, he’s is booked out until June. Anna – Im going to try this other doctor in Seattle who was recommended to me by an ND I trust immensely. I asked the ND if he treated SIBO first and he said he thinks I should see Dr. Steven Lewis MD. So I booked an appt. for June. (He is a busy guy!! That’s seems good). I will let you know how it goes. Anyway, Im on the low Fodmap diet while I wait to see what this new guy wants me to do. Sticking to the diet helps for sure, but I still have 5 months pregnant belly at least once a day, and am about 2 months pregnant the rest of the time ;). Take care.

        1. Hi AliO and Anna,

          I finished the antibiotics last night and I am definitely not any worse, but not much better if at all. I ate whatever I wanted during the antibiotic except gluten because that is what I was told to do. Today, I am on a SCD (without the intro diet), paleo, and low fodmop diet for at least until I see the nutritionist within the next two weeks and my ND by mid-May. I am cheating with lactose free milk which is not grassfed 🙁 and white sugar in my coffee which is a no no in SCD.

          I am also back on the herbal antibiotics. After my last post, I emailed my ND about the die-off and she told me to take just the allimax for three days, then add the berberine for the next 3, and then add the iberogast on the 7th day. I think that helped me somewhat, but the jury is still out. People just seem to love that Iberogast and I want to love it as well. I’m a little confused about the allimax because isn’t that high fodmap?

          Anyway, I’ll let you know about the other appointments and share if I learn anything worthwhile.

          Be well and I hope you both feel better soon!

          Ali

  6. I’m so grateful to have found this website! I have been so sick for about 4 years- adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, anxiety, depression, huge bloated belly, and recently, nonstop vomiting when I eat things that I can’t tolerate like gluten, dairy, coconut- I treated the hormones for a few years before I knew what was going on, then treated the thyroid (Hashimotos) and now I am positive that I have SIBO although I haven’t tested for it because I can’t find a doctor. (Salt Lake City, UT) This gives me hope though because now I know what’s wrong with me! The last few years have taken a real toll on me emotionally- I feel like the old me has died and I’m left with this new, sick fat person. I had almost given up- but now I have some hope. I am seriously huge, like 9 months pregnant, although mornings I’m more like 5. I have a 9 month old I’m breastfeeding so I think I need to wait til I’m done breastfeeding to take antibiotics- does anybody have any advice about this? I normally breastfeed until almost a year, but I’m just really anxious to get started healing my body. If anybody has an advice I’d appreciate it!

    1. It does feel nice to find people who are going through the same things. I too felt like the old me died. My brain was so foggy for years, that I could not fully participate in conversations with friends and my energy was extremely low. I seemed aloof to them. When I started removing irritating foods from my diet and treating my thyroid problem, my brain fog lifted a little. Friends I had known before I got sick kept saying “there’s the old Ali”. It was a huge change to them, as well as to me. I started feeling my best when I went Paleo. Before that I had gone gluten free, vegan, did juice cleanses, eliminated many other foods, but still no relief in my gut. Removing carbs and lactose and getting relief can be a big sign that you have SIBO, so that’s when I decided to get tested. I would change your diet to an SCD/Low Fodmap diet immediately, or at least go Paleo. That should give you some relief while you wait to start a treatment plan and it will still feed you and your baby. If you visit this site, they can send you a home test with a doctor’s request: sibocenter.com/ordering-a-sibo-test/ . As for finding a doctor to treat you in SLC, I would contact the website above if you want a ND, or contact Dr. Pimentel at Cedar Sinai for a recommendation if you want an MD. Good luck to you. I hope you find some relief soon.

  7. Anna and fellow SIBO victims:

    Feeling extremely positive seeing such wonderful stories here. I am in the same boat of having done one course of Rifaximin last year, and SIBO symptoms getting worse within a week of completing the course!! I then went on the herbal antibiotics route along with a strict low fodmap diet for over 4 months which brought down the symptoms drastically. Soon after with a few rounds of consuming sugar/high fructose foods and one round antibiotics to treat the painful tooth infection, I am back to the same old days of SIBO or horrible bloating.
    I am planning to give the Rifaximin a second try this time, and curious to see if any of you were asked by your Doc to take probiotics after Rifaximin’s course? I have heard cases where SIBO patients just cannot tolerate probiotics before or even after being treated with Rifaximin. Have any of you experienced the same? It seems to be still unclear in the medical world why SIBO patients cannot take the probiotics well. Since the idea is to wash out all the good and bad bacteria with rifaximin, doesn’t the body require restoration of the good bacteria? Would like your opinion or any real time experience on taking probiotics after completing rifaximin along with improving motility and digestive enzymes.

    1. Thanks, NH! Glad you found us. Your results with Rifaxin seem very normal – your symptoms WILL get worse when the antibiotic is done, because you’ve just killed off your entire bacteria colony. This is normal and to be expected, and when the low-fodmap diet is critically important to stick to, as well as to take a healthy dose of digestive enzymes. This is NOT the time to restock with probiotics, because although bacteria seem to be the focus of SIBO, the actual problem is that a certain type of bacteria turned off the automatic motility (peristalsis) of the small intestine, which caused bacteria to build up. So it’s not like we’re getting rid of “bad” bacteria and restocking with “good” bacteria (SIBO is a problem with lack of motility, which results in bacteria being in the wrong place – the small intestine instead of the large intestine); rather, we get rid of all bacteria, then we MUST RESTORE MOTILITY, which is the whole problem in the first place. You really don’t want to stock with any sort of bacteria until you are sure the motility of your intestines has been restored, a process which my ND tells me takes about a year or two. I’m taking very small doses of erythromycin and receiving regular visceral manipulation for this. If you haven’t yet read it, I suggest taking a peek at this article, especially the SIBO part, and reading Dr. Pimintel’s books (he’s really the only one doing research on SIBO right now; he wrote, “The New IBS solution” and has yearly IBS research symposiums). I hope that helps! Welcome to our community and let’s beat this thing!

      1. Anna,
        Thanks for the clarification. it is very helpful and encouraging for the long journey ahead. I have another question and would like your take on it. To improve the intestinals walls (damaged from IBS), sometimes taking supplements or medicines such as collagen powder, or L-glutamine is precribed. There could be other dietary foods that is supposed to be helpful.. Is any of this helping you?

        1. My plan with my doc is to restore motility while following a low-fodmap diet for a year or two after taking antiobiotics. Period. The idea is that we call on the natural healing ability of the gut and just let it do it’s thing without throwing too much at it. After I finish up with motility agents (late September), we’ll consider adding a few foods back and see where we’re at. Based on that, we’ll consider other things. My ND reminds me again and again that this is an individualized process, so having consistent appointments and a good relationship with your ND is important, but also that motility is the biggest deal. So, I’m not taking anything extra at this point besides an adrenal support and some vitamin D (I live in the pacnorthwest). I focus on foods that don’t irritate the gut; the low-fodmaps. And really, that’s enough!

      2. Just want to chime in and say that I am doing much better now that I stopped taking probiotics. I was taking Sac Boulardii and Prescript Assist for a long time. I have less brain fog, fatigue and bloat now. Have not been doing anything different other than that.

  8. Hi! Thanks sooo much for a helpful blog on sibo. I could’ve cried at your “I’m healing” sentence! I am suffering currently from sibo and candida. Did you suffer candida also? I’m super curious how to effectively treat both conditions. Thanks so much! Following similar protocol for sibo!

    1. Hi Nicole,
      Yes, I did suffer from Candida. My doctor assured me that as I got my gut bacteria and motility under control, the candida would naturally subside, as it’s the bacteria that keep the candida in check (or let it get crazy). So far, she’s been right – my chronic yeast infections are GONE! Gook luck!

  9. hello there.. so glad I found you. I googled “SIBO ayurveda” and found you. Also a yoga/ayurveda teacher, wondering why there aren’t more answers. So grateful you’ve been doing all this work and sharing your findings.

    Just wondering if you have heard about having “burning mouth syndrome” and very weird (uncomfortable) taste symptoms with SIBO… also burning sensations in the upper GI. This along with everything else you list (bloating, etc.)

    Waiting for my test results but pretty sure this is with what I have been dealing for years!!! I can’t believe how frustrating this has been. I will begin the herbal antibiotics right away along with botanicals recommended on the SIBO info website.

    1. also, which TRI Calcium formula have you found to be best for you? I’ve been taking the Calcium Citrate for months and think it’s time to change.

    2. Hi Dana,
      I have heard of the burning mouth and burning sensations in upper GI, but I don’t personally know much about them as they weren’t my symptoms. I’d also have to know more about the patient for those symptoms to make sense in terms of Ayurveda. Hopefully you can find some good info out there! Best of luck!

  10. Hi, thanks for this post!

    Could motility still be my problem if I’m experiencing SIBO with diarrhea, not constipation? Anyone know what usually causes that?

    Thanks!

    1. From what I understand, the invading bacteria affects all motility – it can either speed it up or slow it down, so chronic constipation or diarrhea would still be a motility issue. It would mean that your food isn’t sticking around long enough in your intestines and you may not be absorbing the nutrients you need. That’s my understanding, at least. Have you read anything by Dr. Pimentel? Or from Monsash University? They have some good resources. Good luck!

  11. Hi,
    This is my first time writing a reply on any SIBO related anything even though I feel like I have read through everything. I suppose there is still some denial involved with this… do you all feel that too?

    At first, I could no longer eat gluten. After eating it all my life… that was really hard for me to accept! I honestly thought it was a BS disorder… that gluten intolerance couldn’t possibly be real. But I would bloat uncontrollably and get so so sick even when I only found out after the fact that I had eaten gluten. So I knew it couldn’t possibly have just been in my mind.

    Then being gluten free wasn’t good enough. A friend who knew what I was going through read an article on how FODMAPs are probably the cause of my distress… and not just gluten.

    So I tried my best to go fodmap free and for awhile, I felt great! I thought… this is it! Goodbye onions, goodbye anything high in fodmaps…. I cracked the code!

    Then I kept on getting sick. When an attack was so bad, I would get a crazy high fever and be unable to move. Literally… for a good 30 seconds to 2 minutes I could not more at all. Time is relative and 30 seconds may as well have been 30 minutes.

    I went to yet another GI (who here goes to the doctor as often as some girls get their nails done??) and she told me about SIBO. I had never heard of it before. I took the test and lo and behold… I scored off the charts. I have the methane kind that comes with terribly constipation.

    I was put on amox-clav antibiotics because Xifaxan is so expensive!

    I took every herbal whatever I could find. I saw an acupuncturist and a Chinese herbalist.

    I got better, then I relapsed.

    Repeated all the steps above.

    Relapsed again.

    SOOO many tears have been shed. When I tell my loved ones so many so Oh i know I get so bloated too… and they mean well but I have to explain that I feel bloated from head to toe!! Some days my engagement barely fits. Oh yeah… I am getting married in 5 months and the thought of looking pregnant completely stresses me out and we all know how great stress is on the body!!

    Some days I barely eat, like hardly anything, and I still bloat! And it feels like the pressure inside me is bursting, wanting to come out. I am irritable, I am anxious, I am short tempered. Usually… I am so far from any of those things!

    I’ve even had 2 men offer me a seat on the train. Then I realized I looked pregnant! (I took it and pretended I was lol).

    I am now on my 3rd course of antibiotics in about 1.5 years and am testing the eat carbs and sugar and fodmaps theory. I am also taking Oil of Oregano with every meal and Allicin since I am told both are great for combatting methane.

    After this course ends I will try to eat a very strict diet. It is so hard for me to not eat sugar!!! I think it’s totally psychological because to me, it’s like really?!??! one more thing I can’t eat???

    I should say that I’m not the type who eats to live… I live to eat! I have been called a “foodie” more times than I can count and literally love food. Living in New York makes it both easier, with many healthy options, and harder- with many sinfully delicious options.

    Sometimes I am just stubborn and eat what I know I cant’ thinking…maybe this time I will be able to eat it and be fine! But nope. I end up feeling awful.

    I also feel like I can’t lose weight. It’s the worst feeling.

    I too used to have an eating disorder and thankfully see my larger size as more of a sign that I need to heal than, oh no I am so fat.

    I am debating taking a bunch of laxatives similar to a colonoscopy prep when you have to clean out your colon?? I know laxatives are bad but I also know that going to the bathroom helps release the methane. I don’t know!

    I feel like if I was told to walk 300 miles and make a wish on a shooting star and jump 50 times on one foot and eat the juice of one berry while riding an elephant backwards… I would do it. There is little I wouldn’t do!

    I don’t wish SIBO on anyone.

    Thank you for providing a forum where I can unload my thoughts. It can feel like such a lonely disease- even when surrounded by amazing people who truly care.

    Ok, that’s enough out of me!! I don’t know any of you but I do hope, really really hope, that you will all be healed.

  12. I’m really glad to have found this site. I’ve suffered for 10 years with this. I’m less then 100 pounds but have a pregnant belly. Anti biotic after antibiotic with no result. It was just be nice for a cure. I never have energy and it would be nice to simply enjoy a meal. They called in a round of augmentin and I’m hoping it helps. In the past I’ve eaten normal on antibiotics so they don’t hide. What in your opinion works. Strict low for map on antibiotics or not?

    1. Hi Julie, I’m sorry you’re suffering 🙁 I ate low-fodmap during the antibiotics, but I’ve heard now that the course of action is to eat normal during them. I’m not sure what’s better. I think that perhaps more important than what to eat on the antibiotics is what you do afterwards – getting motility and healthy digestion back on track. That seemed to be when the real healing started for me, and it wasn’t easy. Some of those first weeks still felt pretty bad, but my ND reminded me that it was like having a newborn’s stomach – nothing inside to help me digest. So I went through it week by week. I hope you have found someone who can help you through the whole process, not just the antibiotic! ~Anna

      1. Be careful with the idea of a newborn digesting food. Your ND should know better.

        Ideally, newborns are inoculated with good bacteria in the birth canal which gives them good digestion of breast milk. Newborns poop yellow poop and that is good and normal. Older babies are gradually given small amounts of adult food, and should be able to digest that as well.

        The crying, burping, upset tummy and explosive poop, multi-coloured poop is not normal to humans in the past – only of late, with post-industrial food, born to women with disrupted gut flora. Those of us struggling with proper gut and vaginal flora are the ones birthing babies with digestive complaints.

        1. Hi Jessica, of course you are correct. My ND and I were referring to a newborn’s stomach figuratively – meaning that, in the few weeks to months after taking the antibiotics, eat things very easy to digest.

  13. Thanks for sharing your journey. The first obstacle is trying to convince one’s doc that it warrants an investigation. Thank you fit sharing your vulnerabilities. I too share in a similar history as you. I’m going to chip away at this until I’m heard and treated. I will check in as often as I can. Thanks again!

  14. I am going through this same thing I was prescribed Xiflaxan for SIBO which they think is causing my severe IBS. I am on day 9 and feel pretty horrible but it is not as bad as I was feeling before i started the xifaxin. The first and second days I felt better than I have in years but day 3 and 4 were brutal (I was so tired i just stared at my monitor at work).
    6 years ago I was tested via a hydrogen breath test and was positive. I took whatever they had back then but I never felt a bunch better. I am hoping this will work out.

    Let me know what I should be doing to rebuild my Flora while on Xiflaxin.

    Jim

    1. Hi Kris, you’re absolutely right. After this post, I wasn’t healed. Healing took much longer. This was just one of the steps along the journey.

  15. I kind of doubt that digestive enzymes do anything. They probably are just destroyed by stomach acid. It is like the idea of eating brains to become smarter or eating kidneys to gain kidney function.

    1. I noticed a huge difference for me. The digestive enzymes contained pepsin and other enzymes found in stomach acid – they were a replacement for stomach acid that seemed greatly reduced. I noticed a big difference. I don’t think this is the same as the analogy you presented.

  16. Thank you so so much for your honest report on your SIBO Journey. I see you have written this a while ago, how are things going now? Thank you so so very much. I like your whole process, especially your gentle attitude towards yourself during the process.
    Warmly,Colleen

    1. Hi Colleen, things are great now. When I was in the food reintroduction phase, I got pregnant, which actually seemed to help things quite a bit. Apparently, all the progesterone released during pregnancy acts as a great anti-inflammatory for the digestive system. By the time I gave birth, I’ve been able to eat pretty much anything I want. Although I’ve developed a few allergies postpartum – to sesame, peanuts and shellfish. I also tend to have a reaction if I eat too much wheat, so I stick a mostly gluten free diet.

  17. Hi! Well, I’m now two weeks post-Rifaximin, and during the first week especially my G.I. was sped up. Had to take meds to slow it down. Now, slowing down again, not as regular as before. I keep reading how important it is to take a prokinetic drug for a while – like 50 mg. erythromycin at night. So far my G.I. physician assistant people won’t prescribe it; probably because of the sped-upness I had. So, is the low-dose erythromycin good for too much and too little peristalsis? I’m confused. AND, I don’t want this to come back a-g-a-i-n!

    1. Hi Linda, in my experience, you do need to stay regular. I’ve also used a Magnesium blend to help with elimination – maybe run that by your doctor?

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