Or SIBO for short. SIBO is becoming a very real issue in today's culture. I believe its a combination of 2 variables that account for most of the problem: Diet and Antibiotics. Food these days isn't as nutritious as it was when our parents were being raised, in general, and we don't eat home-cooked meals like we used to. Antibiotics are being utilized far too often in medicine. Yes, they kill the bad bacteria but they also kill all the good bacteria as well. The good bacteria in the small intestine are our last defense from the external world. We consume all kinds of bad stuff with all the good stuff and if there are no good bacteria to kill the bad stuff and break down the good stuff into usable units for absorption through the gut lining, the bad bacteria will take up shop and flourish.
How does it happen? Although the process is not known specifically, Hypochlorhydria (reduced stomach acid production) is a common thread amongst patients. Stomach acid is the biggest killer of bacteria prior to entering the small intestine. Two things that can directly contribute to Hypochlorhydria: H. Pylori and aging. Poor diet also contributes to hypochlorhydria. Diets including large quantities of fast food, alcohol, GMO food, fat, dairy, gluten and corn are less than ideal for the for the prevention and/or resolution of SIBO.
What are the symptoms? There are a number of things that can indicate the presence of SIBO: diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, pruritus ani (itchy butt syndrome), lethargy, malabsorption, malnutrition and osteoporosis. The symptoms you experience may depend on how long the SIBO has been present, Malnutrition and osteoporosis may only appear after a significant amount of time has passed, 10+ years. Symptoms like weight loss and pruritus ani may appear in the fist year or so and persist until balance is restored.
How do I get it properly diagnosed? There are a number of methods of diagnosing SIBO, most of which have only recently been refined and well researched for accuracy. Lactulose breath test, Glucose breath test and fecal testing can work together to give a good picture. Combined with blood panels we can identify the state of the problem systemically. Where the lactulose, glucose and fecal testing can establish the bacterial overgrowth the Blood work will establish the presence of systemic irritation and oxidative stress as a result of the gut dysfunction.
How is it treated? Treatment can vary from patient to patient based on history and dietary restrictions (to name a few). Treatment can vary from doctor to doctor as well based on their education and preference. The one thing that should be the same, regardless of the patient and doctor, is the need for dietary modifications. There should also be some sort of pro and prebiotic regimen to supplement the new diet. This supplementation will reintroduce a new batch of quality organisms needed to repopulate the gut and return balance. The patient's diet is what got them there in the first place so it should be the first thing to change. SIBO isn't fixed with a Bandaid (antibiotic/antifungal pills) alone, you may be able to patch it by killing off the current bacteria but if you continue to shove toxic food, with little or no nutritional value, down your throat it will return. Good quality food, a plant-based diet, will not only feed the quality bacteria necessary for proper gut function but it will help to suppress the growth of the bad bacteria.
If you or anybody you know is suffering with any sort of systemic problem like thyroid, weight loss, arthritis, gout, Irritable bowel syndrome, scleroderma, psoriasis, cancer, etc. I strongly urge them to seek out medical care that will properly examine the state of their digestive system. The gut is a whole world of little guys that make our lives possible. Don't ignore, abuse or take them for granted. Instead, acknowledge them, much like your wife or kids. Nurture them with the things they need, so your life is that much fuller and rewarding for doing so. It's not an easy road to start but once you're on it, it won't take long before you notice the benefits on a daily basis.
Although Power chiropractic is not currently providing treatment for this condition it is something we are looking into and should be introducing in the near future. Please stay tuned as we are constantly looking for new ways to serve and provide the best and most comprehensive care for our patients. If would like to talk more about this or anything else discussed on our blog please feel free to take advantage of our first free consultation, which you can book from the link on our home page.