I seem to be working with a lot of lovely plant-eaters who struggle with digestive issues of all shapes and sizes: constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating, acid reflux etc. etc. and it can be a huge source of discomfort and stress for them. One of the most prevalent causes of these digestive complaints is SIBO, which often accompanies a fungal overgrowth. Within the context of holistic treatment that targets the root causes of SIBO, aims to prevent relapse and addresses any other gastrointestinal dysbiosis, we usually see pretty impressive results and often a very rapid reduction in symptoms.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), whilst extremely common, is a fairly new-kid on the block- so here are a few frequently asked questions to get you better acquainted with it.
What is SIBO?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is when bacteria/archea which may be appropriately located in the large intestine are found instead in the small intestine, in abnormal amounts. These bacteria/archea ferment starches and fibres into gases that can cause damage to the small intestine and can cause a lot of symptoms. Fermentation of the starches and fibres is a normal occurrence within the large intestine, but instead causes havoc when occurring in then small intestine.
2. Which symptoms may be indicative of SIBO?
SIBO is estimated to cause between 60-80% of IBS presentations. Common symptoms of SIBO include bloating, gas, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, reflux, rashes, food allergies and increased fat excretion in the stools.
3. What are some of the clues I may have SIBO?
If you feel worse when you take pre or probiotics.
When symptoms come on after a bout of food poisoning.
When symptoms improve for a while after you take antibiotics for another issue.
When your symptoms worsen with xylitol and sugar alcohols.
If you’re coeliac and you have symptoms even when on a strictly gluten-free diet.
When fibre actually makes your constipation worse!
4. What causes SIBO?
Some of the most common reasons behind acquiring a SIBO presentation include:
Impaired Motility- this could be related to hypothyroidism, mould toxicity, autoimmunity, traumatic brain injuries, diabetes, heavy antibiotic use, or hypermobility disorders.
Impaired Digestion- this could be due to a variety of reasons, importantly including stress.
Impaired Outflow- Abdominal surgeries and even gynaecological surgeries can lead to this.
Medications- This can include antidepressants, PPIs, and opiates or narcotics.
5. Which conditions are related to SIBO?
A multitude of conditions are related to SIBO; these include:
Restless leg syndrome
6. What’s the difference between SIBO and SIFO?
Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth very often accompanies SIBO and symptoms will be very similar. The most common organism is Candida. Herbal medicine can be especially helpful in the case of mixed SIBO and SIFO as they often exhibit both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. SIFO can be suspected if you experience yeast infections, rashes, histamine intolerance or if symptoms are worse with sugar.
7. Myth: Vegan diets cause SIBO and stopping being vegan will fix it.
Truth: I work with many vegans in getting to the bottom of their SIBO, working exclusively with foods and medicines of plant-origin. It is very common for vegans and vegetarians to experience SIBO, likely because their typically high-fibre diets give rise to more noticeable symptoms than somebody following a low-fibre diet. However, a vegan diet per say does not CAUSE the SIBO, and we need to both treat, and get to the bottom of why the SIBO occurred in the first place.
Once we get to the bottom of your SIBO mealtimes will become so much less stressful and so much more joyful! I love working with vegans and vegetarians to get to the bottom of their digestive issues. 💚. If you’re interested in working with me, check out my bookings page to find out more about what I can offer you!
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I'm so glad I went to see Camilla, being vegan it's nice to find a naturopath who shares the same values.She asked me... a lot of questions during the initial consult, I felt that she was genuinely trying to help. After a few weeks and some tests done, she made a very detailed treatment plan which was very thorough and well explained.After only a few weeks following the treatment plan, the symptoms greatly improved as my gut health got better.I'd highly recommend Camilla as she has great knowledge combined with a caring and effective holistic approach.read more
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