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Sibo: A Beginner’s Guide
Want to learn more about SIBO? Curious if you or someone you know might be affected? This beginner’s guide will help you understand this condition and learn to recognize and treat the symptoms.
Sibo: A Beginner’s Guide Index
- What Is SIBO?
- SIBO Symptoms
- SIBO Diet
- SIBO Test
- SIBO Treatment
- SIBO Probiotics
- More SIBO & Paleo Resources
What Is Sibo?
SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. Essentially, the bacterial in your large intestine begin to migrate to the smaller intestine and cause an overgrowth of bacteria.
A diagnosis is usually made if the measurement is greater than 100,000 organisms per milliliter (normal is 10,000 organisms/liter). It brings along a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms and is usually treated with antibiotics and probiotics.
How do you know if you might have it? Well, the symptoms are not fun – not fun at all. Results of bacteria overgrowth usually result in nausea, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, malnutrition, weight loss and malabsorption for a variety of reasons. In short, you’ll probably end up feeling like the lady in the picture below.
The best kind of diet is one consisting of easily digestible foods.
This will allow your body to process the food early on in the digestive process and leaves minimal digesting for your lower intestine (the part affected by this condition). Because of this, you’re going to mostly focus on eating real, natural food that’s easy for your body to digest.
Foods that are high in sugar & carbohydrates and/or processed heavily take more work for your intestine to break down and will tend to exacerbate the existing condition.
Foods To Avoid
- Corn Syrup
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- High Quantities of Fructose
- Beans (kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, etc.)
- Peas (including spilt-pea soup)
- Dairy Products (contain lactose)
- Breads & Other Grains/Pasta
If you are a newly diagnosed, you may do well to follow paleo guidelines for eating as most paleo frameworks cut out many of these foods already. For more information on this, see our paleo diet food list.
There are several tests to determine if a patient is affected.
One – the D-Xylose test – a patient may be given a sugar that is not broken down by enzymes. It’s then measures the level of D-Xylose in the urine and blood after a certain time. If there is none – it shows the small intestine is having trouble absorbing it.
A breath test is also available where the patient is given a carbohydrate and the level of hydrogen metabolized over a certain period of time as
A patient is usually considered to have it if their organism count is higher than 10^5 per milliliter.
Sometimes, if a diagnosis can’t be made, treatment is given experimentally to see if it will alleviate the symptoms.
There is no cure – yea, that sucks. However, it can be treated through a combination of proper diet, antibiotics and probiotics.
Anti-Biotic Treatment Options
These are a few anti-biotic treatment options. As a reminder, always consult with your doctor before taking medication.
- Metronidazole (Flagyl) for 7 days.
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin) combined with metronidazole (Flagyl) for 7 days.
- Neomycin orally for 10 days.
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro) for 7 days.
Antibiotics are given as a weekly treatment and in order to prevent tolerances, can sometimes be cycled in a 1 week on/3 weeks off fashion.
There is also some evidence that a paleo-based framework – eliminating carbohydrate sources like bread and other grains, can help alleviate the symptoms of this disease.
Priobiotics – as we already mentioned – can sometimes help alleviate the symptoms. These are commonly found in yogurts and help accompany the good bacteria you already have in your system. Their actual result is still a little uncertain, but it seems to work better for some people than it does for others.
Whatever you do, you’ll want to approach this carefully, there is some evidence that probiotics can actually make the symptoms worse!
More Paleo SIBO Resources
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