5 Treatments for SIBO: Which One is Right for You?
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If you have been diagnosed with SIBO by a healthcare provider, you are probably looking for information on the different treatments available. There are a few different options, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. That is why it is important to consult your healthcare provider before pursuing treatment. In this article, we will discuss the five most common treatments for SIBO.
What is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)?
SIBO, also known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine that can lead to a number of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. The symptoms of bacterial overgrowth can be compared to the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which is why SIBO is sometimes misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is possible to have both SIBO and IBS as studies have shown that up to 80% of people with IBS also have SIBO.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is often caused by a combination of factors, including a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, low stomach acid production, and intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can also be caused by stress, certain medications (such as antibiotics), and inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn's disease). There are risk factors involved with not knowing which digestive condition you might be suffering from, which is why it is important to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
SIBO Signs and Symptoms
When your gut microbiome is negatively affected, harmful bacteria can grow in your small intestine, which causes gas build-up and can trigger diarrhea. You will typically know that you have some sort of digestive issue when you are consistently experiencing bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhea which means that a trip to the doctor for testing would be required to figure out what is causing your issues. Your doctor can typically diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) from your symptoms, but other tests will need to be done to accurately diagnose SIBO.
How Does Someone Get SIBO?
There are a few different ways that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can appear. The most common way is when there is a change in the gut flora, which allows harmful bacteria to grow. This can be caused by several things, including:
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Low stomach acid production
- Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
- Certain medications (such as antibiotics)
- Proton Pump Inhibitors
When you are having digestive issues, it is important to see a doctor or healthcare provider. Typically, your primary care doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist who is an expert on all digestive conditions. At first, the gastroenterologist will ask you some questions so they can fully understand your SIBO symptoms. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth would then be diagnosed by a gastro doctor after a breath test has been ordered.
SIBO Breath Test
Glucose breath testing, lactulose breath testing, and substrate breath testing are the most common breath tests that are used to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Glucose breath testing, lactulose breath testing, and substrate breath testing are used to test for SIBO in various parts of the small intestine.
Typically, a gastroenterologist will suggest the patient use breath testing after hearing the patient's medical history and SIBO symptoms. Since, as stated earlier, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can have similar symptoms to irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease which is why breath testing is important to pinpoint what is causing the symptoms.
Lactulose Breath Test
The lactulose breath test is the most common breath test used to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The lactulose breath test is a non-invasive and safe way to test for SIBO. The lactulose breath test is also an accurate way to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
The lactulose breath test is done by the patient drinking a solution of lactulose and then breathing into a balloon. The balloon is then sealed and sent to a lab for analysis. The results of the lactulose breath test usually come back within a few days
Glucose Breath Test
The glucose breath test is another common breath test used to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The glucose breath test is a non-invasive and safe way to test for SIBO. The glucose breath test is also an accurate way to diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
The glucose breath test is done by the patient drinking a solution of glucose and then breathing into a balloon. The balloon is then sealed and sent to a lab for analysis. The results of the glucose breath test usually come back within a few days.
There are many different options when it comes to treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, but there are a few treatments that have shown to be most effective. You should always consult with your doctor on which small intestinal bacterial treatment would be best for you. Unlike irritable bowel syndrome, which is a lifelong condition, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can be removed from the small intestine but can reappear if the previous issues persist. Diagnosing and treating SIBO as soon as possible is important because SIBO can lead to more serious issues such as malnutrition, weight loss, and intestinal damage. Below, we will discuss the most popular and effective ways of treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Low FODMAP Diet
The Low FODMAP diet is one of the most straightforward and consistent ways of treating SIBO and works best when coupled with antibiotic treatment. Our gut health starts with the food we eat so the Low FODMAP diet is a way to ensure that you are not putting harmful carbohydrates into your stomach. These carbohydrates can feed the bacterial overgrowth which causes the bacteria to grow even more.
The Low FODMAP diet developed by Monash University was developed by a team of scientists and dietitians with a focus on lessening the symptoms of digestive conditions as well as identifying which foods trigger digestive conditions. The Low FODMAP diet has shown impressive results with lessening symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, as well as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of the Low FODMAP diet, then click here.
Antibiotic therapy is one of the most prescribed small intestinal bacterial overgrowth treatments by doctors. Even though certain antibiotics can cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, there are other antibiotics that can be used to eliminate the bad bacteria from your small intestine.
Antibiotic therapy can remove bacterial overgrowth from your small intestine, but unfortunately, there is a high chance of it returning if other factors are not changed such as diet, stress, and medications that are taken. The typical antibiotics prescribed for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are rifaximin or neomycin which are effective in treating the condition.
Antimicrobial herbs are a natural remedy that has shown some promise in treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. A study in 2016 showed that a combination of oregano oil, garlic, and thyme was effective in reducing the number of harmful bacteria in the small intestine.
The study also found that this herbal combination was just as effective as the antibiotic rifaximin, which is often used to treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Herbal therapy is a promising SIBO treatment, but more research still needs to be done.
Biofilm disruptors have also shown promise when treating SIBO. Biofilm disruptors are substances that break down the protective barrier that some bacteria build around themselves. This allows antibiotics and other SIBO treatments to be more effective in killing harmful bacteria.
N-acetyl cysteine and serrapeptase are two substances that have been shown to be effective biofilm disruptors. A study in 2015 showed that N-acetyl cysteine was able to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the small intestine.
Probiotics are great for maintaining your overall gut health but have also shown some promise in treating SIBO. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed, have a positive effect on our gut health. Probiotics can be found in supplements as well as fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
A study in 2014 showed that probiotic supplementation was able to reduce the symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Probiotics are a safe and effective SIBO treatment that can be used alongside other treatments.
Which SIBO treatment is the best?
It is impossible to say which SIBO treatment is the ‘best’ because they all show results and work in different ways. It is best to consult with your doctor on which SIBO treatments would work best for you based on your medical history and your current SIBO symptoms.
One way to take care of the root of the problem is to ensure your nutrition is under control, which is why we believe the Low FODMAP diet is a great and safe way to ensure your SIBO symptoms are under control. There are relatively zero risk factors to following the Low FODMAP diet and can ensure that you lessen your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Are you ready to try the Low FODMAP Diet?
If you are suffering from SIBO and need help adopting the Low FODMAP diet, then we are here to help! ModifyHealth is the leader in medically tailored meals and has a menu of at least 30+ ready-to-eat Low FODMAP meals that can be delivered to your front door with FREE shipping. If you are ready to take the next step towards becoming free of SIBO then click here to order your Low FODMAP meals: Low FODMAP Menu