Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Do you find yourself dealing with these symptoms on a regular basis?

😒Persistent bloating




😒Constipation which worsens when eating fibre

😒Abdominal pain / cramping

😒Floating or greasy stools (caused by undigested fats)

😒Pre- or probiotics do not improve or worsen symptoms

😒Multiple food or chemical sensitivities

😒Persistent headaches

😒Inflammatory conditions (chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness etc)

😒Symptoms improve when eating simple carbs like white bread, white rice, lower fibre foods and fewer whole fruits and vegetables.

🍛When we eat, food passes from our stomach into our small intestine, and then into our large intestine (a.k.a. the colon).

🦠 SIBO happens when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This can be normal bacteria which has just grown out of control, or bacteria which has migrated from the large intestine.

Now, symptoms of SIBO can depend on where it is in your gut…

👆Higher in the duodenum, it can cause bloating in the upper abdomen, belching, reflux, nausea and loss of appetite.

👇Further down in the jejunum and ileum, it can cause bloating in the middle to lower abdomen and flatulence.

Did you also know that there are three types of SIBO?

  1. SIBO-D (associated with diarrhoea) when bacteria feed off carbohydrates in the small intestine and produce HYDROGEN.
  2. SIBO-C (associated with constipation, lactose malabsorption and excessive bloating) when archaea (small organisms!) feed off the hydrogen produced by the bacteria, and produce METHANE as a byproduct.
  3. Hydrogen sulfite dominant SIBO, associated with gas that smells like rotten eggs 😷🥚

How do I know if I have SIBO I hear you ask!! 

😮💨 The best method is a breath test to test for the presence of HYDROGEN and METHANE in the breath. This is collected in a tube and sent to a lab in the UK for analysis. 

💩 The presence of methanobrevibacter smithii in a stool test can also indicate SIBO is present!

What causes SIBO. 

🦠 If SIBO is at the top of the small intestine, it’s associated with low hydrochloric acid in the stomach. We need good levels of stomach acidity in order to break down nutrients and absorb them!

🦠 It can also be caused by a dysfunctional ileocecal valve at the bottom of the small intestine (going from the small to the large intestine). An osteopath is usually able to detect this and correct it if this is the cause.

Other causes include:-

🔅 Low bile production

🔅 Chronic use of antacids and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and recurrent antibiotics which alter the gut bacteria

🔅 A chronic history of H. pylori bacteria

🔅 Slower transit times and disturbed Migrating Motor Complex (MMC)

👉The MMC moves the contents of the small intestines (along with bacteria) to the large intestines. The MMC should move food at a relatively fast speed so it doesn’t ferment, so if the MMC isn’t functioning efficiently, it can lead to slower transit times.

Some of the health implications that SIBO may have…

Low stomach acidity and bile production associated with SIBO can have a knock on effect on the absorption of nutrients including fats and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Bile is needed to emulsify fats and these fat-soluble vitamins. If your body isn’t absorbing fats properly, chances are that these vitamins are not being absorbed properly either.

👾 This can also lead to toxins passing through where they shouldn’t be in the gut and the brain, leading to “brain fog” and poor memory and concentration.

As SIBO can also cause “leaky gut”, it can impact on histamine levels. 

👉 Our immune system produces histamines in order to dilate blood vessels and allow our white blood cells to find and attack invading microbes.

🤧 Histamines can also cause the membranes in your nose to produce more mucus in response to pollen for example.

🤧 Symptoms of histamine intolerance include headaches, chronic insomnia, anxiety, wheezing, watery eyes, runny nose, diarrhoea, itching and sinus issues.

👉 Intestinal permeability can lead to particles passing through the gut lining, so the immune system responds to the invading food particles which causes the symptoms of histamine intolerance mentioned above.

SIBO has also been associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, IBD, Coeliac Disease, Rosacea, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. SIBO has also been associated with hypothyroidism due to altered gut motility in hypothyroidism. 

How can we restore gut health. 

🦠 It is important to support the gut and resolve the underlying cause to PREVENT reoccurrence!! 

Holistic support can include:

💚 specific dietary interventions to reduce the availability of carbohydrates which are difficult to digest 

💚 botanical herbs which can disrupt the biofilm formed by bacteria and “kill off” the overgrowth

💚 prokinetic agents to restore the Migrating Motor Complex

💚 osteopathic treatment to support the ileocecal valve 

The aim is to restore digestive function and help to heal the lining of the gut, allowing nutrients to be better absorbed which supports better energy levels, improved memory and concentration, better sleep quality, and feeling healthier and happier! ☀️☀️☀️

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