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Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a digestive disorder that occurs in many cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In fact, researchers suggest that physicians give consideration of excluding SIBO before giving a definitive diagnosis of IBS.

Defined as excessive bacteria in the small intestine, SIBO can cause a host of problems, including  malabsorption of nutrients, particularly fat-soluble vitamins and iron, as well as damage to the stomach lining. 

When you have SIBO, as food passes through the small intestine, the bacterial overgrowth interferes with the healthy digestive and absorption process. The bacterium associated with SIBO actually consumes some of the foods and nutrients, leading to unpleasant SIBO symptoms, including gas, bloating and pain.

The conventional approach to treating SIBO typically involves antibiotics. However, this can make the problem worse, and patients will frequently relapse. 

At the Holistic Wellness Center, we are careful to examine why someone has developed SIBO and/or IBS in the first place.  Risk factors include aging, dysmotility (when muscles in the digestive system don’t work properly), Type II diabetes and other blood sugar issues, injuries, and autoimmunie conditions.  Certain medications, including immunosuppressant medications and proton pump inhibitors, also increase your risk of SIBO. Celiac disease is another major risk factor - about 66% of Celiacs have SIBO.

To treat SIBO and IBS, it’s important to identify if there’s an underlying cause. The next step is to start reversing the nutritional deficiencies. A healthy diet, nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes are necessary to get the body back in balance.

Common symptoms of SIBO and IBS include:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Rosacea

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