Got SIBO? Struggling with digestive issues? Here’s 4 helpful tips to help you cure and heal SIBO for good.
If you have been diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), you probably already know that it is not an easy things to cure and that the rate of recurrence is pretty high.
From a personal standpoint, SIBO has been one of the most frustrating and complicated health issue to manage. What I have found is that their is very little understanding in the conventional medical community about digestive issues. After countless tests and several different doctors, I was given the diagnosis of IBS. Not being satisfied with this diagnosis and knowing that something else was going on, I continued my search for answers. Just calling my belly issues IBS and managing it with dietary changes did not make sense to me. There had to be more answers.
Fast-forward a couple of years and many more doctors and hours of research, I find myself finally knowing the cause of my annoying digestive issues and am on the road to recovery. Today I want to share 4 of the most important tips that I have learned about healing and curing SIBO for good.
Like I said, this has been a long journey for me. I would love to save you some of the headache and frustration of what I have been through. Luckily now there are more and more resources for us to turn to. Much of what you will read in the rest of this post can be found in my friend Sylvie’s book, The SIBO Solution. It is hands down the most comprehensive book on SIBO that I have come across. Sylvie shares her experience with treating SIBO and goes into great detail about proper diagnosis, treatment, and dietary recommendations. She even includes over 40 recipes to help you stay inspired while sticking to the restrictive diet that treating SIBO requires.
Check out The SIBO Solution HERE.
WHAT IS SIBO?
Before we move onto my tips for curing SIBO for good, let’s take a quick look at what exactly SIBO is. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a chronic infection of the small intestine. It is defined as defined as an increase in the number of bacteria, and/or changes in the types of bacteria present in the small bowel.
SIBO is generally an overgrowth of the bacterial that you normally find in the large intestine that has migrated up into the small intestine. It can also sometimes be caused by an overgrowth of the otherwise normal bacteria of the small intestine. This overgrowth can occur when their is a motility issue and things are not moving through the small intestine as they should.
So why is this such a big deal? The bacteria associated with SIBO interfere with our normal digestion and absorption of food and are associated with damage to the lining or membrane of the small intestine. These bacteria consume some of our food which over time leads to deficiencies in their favorite nutrients such as iron and B12, causing anemia. After eating our food, they produce gas within the small intestine causing abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, belching, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea or both.
SIBO can also cause food allergies and sensitivities. Due to the damage to the lining of the small intestine, larger food particles not able to be fully digested can enter the body. The actual bacteria from the overgrowth can also wreck havoc on the body by triggering immune responses that cause chronic fatigue and by excreting acids which in high amounts can cause neurological and cognitive symptoms. Brain fog has been one of my biggest complaints with SIBO.
MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SIBO
- abdominal discomfort/cramping
- gas and belching
- diarrhea or constipation (depending on what type of SIBO you have)
- weight loss and nutritional deficiencies
4 TIPS FOR CURING SIBO FOR GOOD
Here’s 4 of the most helpful things that I have learned during my own personal journey with treating SIBO.
1. FIND A SKILLED PRACTITIONER
I can tell you from personal experience that many practitioners do not know what SIBO is, much less how to diagnose and treat it. Finding someone who is knowledgeable and has experience with SIBO and other digestive diseases is critical in getting proper treatment. Proper testing, treatment, and diet are crucial to curing yourself of this hard to manage condition.
2. GET THE RIGHT TESTING
There are several tests for diagnosing SIBO, like stool tests and uric organic acid tests, but the best testing for diagnosing SIBO is a breath test.
Please note that in order to diagnose SIBO with breath tests, you will need to test for elevated levels of hydrogen and methane. This is because 8–27% of people do not have detectable levels of hydrogen production in their guts from bacteria. Instead, they produce methane. And the treatment for SIBO varies depending on what type of SIBO you have.
The gold standard breath test for SIBO is 3-Hour Lactulose breath test.
3. USE HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS/ANTIMICROBIALS
The recurrence rate of SIBO after using conventional antibiotics is over 50% after a year. I highly recommend using herbal antibiotics/antimicrobials instead, as they do not create antibiotic resistance, they have fewer side effects and are simply more effective. Again, it is important to work with a skilled practitioner to learn about the best herbal antibiotics to treat your SIBO.
4. CHANGE YOUR DIET
So you know by now that SIBO is complex and difficult to treat. Usually taking a round of antibiotics (even herbal ones) is not enough to eradicate the infection completely and permanently. This does not address the root of the issue(s) that caused the SIBO in the first place. Often it is necessary to make some pretty radical changes to your diet (for a short period of time) in order to get your SIBO into check.
The best dietary approach to manage and lessen symptoms of SIBO is a combination of low FODMAP and restricting certain carbohydrates. This combined with a real food, nutrient-dense diet will help heal the gut as well as begin to starve out the unwanted bacteria in your gut.
This approach is called the SIBO Diet. It involved eliminating foods that aggravate the gut and that feed the bacteria that you are trying to eliminate. It can be a challenging and restrictive diet to follow, but many people find that their symptoms greatly decrease.
For a detailed explanations of the SIBO Diet, I highly recommend reading The SIBO Solution. It goes into great detail about the what, why, and how of the dietary changes that are necessary. It even includes over 40 easy to prepare recipes to keep you inspired.
NOTE: According to new research, the diets mentioned above are excellent for managing and reducing the symptoms of SIBO. These diets should only be done for short periods of time, as the fermentable carbohydrates that are eliminated are actually necessary to the health of your “good” gut bacteria. Also, it is recommended to NOT do this diet while treating SIBO (with either antimicrobials or antibiotics) as “starving” the bad bacteria that you are trying to eradicate will make them “hide” and become more difficult to eradicate. You can read more about that HERE.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
The SIBO Solution is the resource for anyone struggling with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. My friend, Sylvie, has created a thorough guide that offers a straight up, no-nonsense guide to what SIBO is, what causes it, how to accurately diagnose it, treatment methods, and most importantly how to make sure it never comes back! It’s unique and natural approach makes it easy to follow and practical to implement. A must read!
Check The SIBO Solution HERE.
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I had similar issues last summer. I became very ill and lost a lot of weight. My naturopath diagnosed that my ileocecal valve wasn’t closing causing bacteria from the large bowel to back up into the small bowel. My liver became toxic and was unable to perform its detoxing functions. My conventional Dr never heard of such a thing which continues to amaze me. I’m a retired nurse and came to realize over time how little they know about health.. Thank god for nsturopaths. He used a homeopathic remedy plus RIFE energy treatments. He also prescribed a remedy called intestamine to help heal the inflammation which I’m still on. I also was receiving ABC chiropractic treatments which were literally changing the anatomy of my spine. I’ve always suffered from pain and multiple other issues which were related to the integrity of my spine.
Thanks for sharing! It still amazes me how little conventional doctors understand about all of this! Hope you are feeling better. 🙂
I am dealing with same problem would u abe able to tell who is ur doctor pls I am in bad shape
Very interesting read – I have been experiencing a White tounge along with brain fog and fatigue after eating, however this subsides so long as I take a digestive enzyme, possibly due to the food being digested before the bacteria gets a chance.
However i still have considerable fatigue and brain fog which is persistent although Probiotics seem to improve these symptoms. Is this commen?
Katja Heino says
Your story is very common. I always recommend finding a good practitioner to work with who is knowledgeable about digestive health. I am a big fan of Functional Medicine. I work with a Functional Medicine doctor personally. I would recommend finding one in your area to get to the root of your issues. Sorry to hear about your brain fog. I know how that can be.
Fred Holtmann says
very very expensive inAustrlia
Hello Katja, your website is inspirational thank you so much for sharing. It is people like you who take the time to give which create invaluable differences to others.
May I ask you what your sibo Ppm were for each sibo test you had for hydrogen and methane? How long have you cured it without relapse and how long did it take to cure once diagnosed?
Thank you again!
Katja Heino says
Hi, Joni! Treating SIBO is different for everyone. I, unfortunately, found out that I also have Lyme disease which has also compromised my gut and digestion. So it is hard to say right now how “cured” I am. My methane levels was 7 and Hydrogen was 6. I am definitely feeling better, but still struggle with digestive stuff related to my Lyme. It’s improving all of the time as I heal my body. 🙂
Sharon Zbik says
I have SIBO and stick to the lowfodmap diet. I am currently on an antibiotic, and take a probiotic daily. The pain refuses to go away. I am so frustrated and miserable. I work in a school, that resumed in September. I already missed a day due to SIBO.
Katja Heino says
So sorry to hear this. I know how that can be. I hope that you find some healing soon. Are you taking Rifampin and Neomycin?
wendy mclean says
try drinking cayenne pepper in water everyday It works really good the first time I did It I could feel the pai
n fade away in minutes..
Thanks for your informative post! I have been dealing with SIBO (constipation/methane type) for two years and, despite diet modifications and Xifaxian prescriptions 4 times, I am still struggling. The treatment thus far has been costly and I am not in a place where I can afford to work with a practitioner at this time.
I am going to try the herbal method, along with the SIBO diet recommended by Allison Siebecker. I have been researching herbal methods, but can’t seem to pinpoint what ones I should include (I’ve read things like garlic, oregano oil, neem, cinnamon..and countless others are effective). I have also read that this herbal regimen generally takes several weeks, using high doses, but I am unsure which ones to include — I don’t want to include too many, but also do not want to miss one of the most effective ones. Do you have any advice about the herbs that were helpful for you?
Your advice is greatly appreciated!
Katja Heino says
I am sorry to hear that you have been struggling. I totally know how that is. It took me several rounds of treatment to start feeling better. And I still am careful with what I eat.
SIBO is tricky because it can have many causes. It turns out that my SIBO was being caused by my chronic Lyme Disease, which I did not know at the time. That is why I recommend working with a practitioner. I know it can be so expensive. I had to address the underlying issues before I got better. My doctor used several different formulas of herbal antimicrobials. Some of them included Lauricidin, Interfase Plus (for biofilm), CandiBactin BR and AR. Along with a whole protocol of probiotics, gut support, and binders. I had to do it twice. 2 different protocols. For 6-8 weeks each. Everyone is different and will need different herbs. And I think following a protocol is important because even herbal antimicrobials can have serious side effects to your body and gut health.
Good luck! I am happy to answer questions if I can!
Mareena Barria says
Hello Katia: I have recently been diagnosed by traditional gastro as possibly having SIBO. My symptoms for years has been my tummy bloating immediately after ingesting anything where I have to loosen my pants. I don’t suffer from any other symptoms. My Bowe love movements are very regular, I have no pain, no constipation. My only grouch is the constantly bloated tummy and the difficulty of losing weight. Given that my only symptom is bloating, wld it mean I have SIBO?
Katja Heino says
Hi, Mareena! I am sorry to hear that you are having digestive issues. The only way to really know if to take a SIBO breath test to test for either type of SIBO. It is hard to diagnose without knowing more. I am sorry that I can not be of more help.
Karen S says
I have suffered from severe silent reflux for a year (sore throat every day). My holistic doctor suggested I may have SIBO and sure enough the results came back severe as well. She wanted to put me on rifaximin which I ordered from Great Britain to save $$$. Before it came I read about macro phage therapy and I thought I would give it a try. I used Florassist with GI phage technology and I can’t tell you how much better I am in about 20 days now. Sore throats are nearly gone, I have put on 4 pounds in a week (I had lost 10 lbs. over the year) and BM’s are normal.
Joseph Cederwall says
Did you have SIBO-C or SIBO-D?
Just wondering as I have C and nothing else has helped much so i am very interested to try this phage product.
How are you doing now? I am interested in the macro phage therapy. Can you tell me more about it. Has your SUBO returned since doing this? I’m not sure how old your post is? I don’t see any dates but I have been suffering for so long and nothing helps much any more. I just started reading about phage therapy and I’m hoping this might be something.
I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO and IBS but have been unable to get a gastro to do the Lactulose tests. Have taken Xiafen 2x, get better and it comes back. Am currently in an IBS-D flare where nothing really seems to help. Would love the guidance of a nutritionist but cannot afford the $100’s of dollars they cost. Feeling very depressed about all of this.
Any time I’ve tried any antimicrobials, I react so strongly that within less than 24 hours I lose control of my bowels.
I simply don’t know what to do.
Guess I’m just crying online.
Katja Heino says
Hi, Linda! I totally get how you feel. Digestive issues are so common these days. And such a bummer to deal with. I pray that you find the help and relief that you need. Hang in there.
Have you tried the AIP diet/low FODMAP recommendations?
Hi! I’ve been dealing with SIBO for over 2 years. It’s so frustrating because know one knew, what i had. All, I knew was that I wasn’t crazy. After seeknf several doctors, I was finally properly diagnosed. I’ve been placed on antibiotics and no success. My main issue is this smell, that won’t go away. It is so strong, frustrating and annoying. It is really taking over my life. Is anyone else, experiencing this? Please, help I can’t take it anymore. I also follow the low Fodmap diet as well. I just want my life back! I’d rather deal with any other symptom than this smell! I’m desperate please help!!!!
Hi, I know what you’re going through. I also have that terrible smell. Were you able to find relief?
I have been cured of my SiBO! I saw a GI doc who wanted to put me on long term IBS med. but thanks to my new dietician and her regime I am cured after 8 months of treatment. I hope this regime will also help others: Took two courses of Rifaxin back to back. Diahrea had returned a delete three weeks off the first course. She told me to pair a second course with herbal medicine and I did. (She told me some people can take a third course but I have not needed that. )
-followed low fodmap diet strictly throughout.
-took ( and still take) 30 drops of Iberogast in water at bedtime
-for two months took Biocidin drops. You work up to 10 drops, three times a day. For me Biocidin seems to be magic. I continue to take 6 drops twice a day.
-took Align probiotic daily throughout and have continued it.
Over the final stage I added minerals and vitamins. They helped rebuild my gut. I can share those specifics with others so this doesn’t get too long.
Will you explain more about your treatment please
I need your help
Thank you very much
Colette Weathersbee says
Hi Alison, where are you based? I am in the UK and keen to get a recommendation for a SIBO expert. Thanks.
I would love to talk to you abt your protocol. Thank you, Danielle
I would love to hear more. I’m sufferinf agin from SIBO (had it 8 years ago).
Could you please email me? Prettyfunnywoman11@gmail.com
Thanks SO much
Thank you for posting what’s working for you. This issue health issue is beyond frustrating and has consumed me as I try to get rid of it or at least manage the flares and symptoms. It’s like wac-a-mole. You get one symptom to settle down and another pops up. It’s maddening. I don’t know how anyone can say they are cured though because they aren’t dead yet. You will have another flare. It’s just dormant for awhile. Please send me your exact protocol. I’ve tried the xifaxin. What is your dosage of pill and how much daily and for how long? I haven’t heard of taking it for 2 or 3 rounds in a row. I can get a whole years worth of pills and then dose myself throughout the year as I flare. It always comes back though no matter how strict I am. Thank you! Reply to me and I’ll send you my email! Thanks Elise
Tammi Hand says
Please I have a friend in her 70 suffering terrible with this. She also has serious arthritis and other problems now. I would appreciate anything I can pass on to her
Kim Porter says
I was diagnosed with Sibo after conventional tests cam back negative. I visited a naturopath and he gave me the diagnoses quickly. The only thing that was different was I was vomiting at least once a week. Your website gave me valuable info. and expectations. Thank you!!
Sue Ray says
While Taking Herbal antibiotics, have you heard of any one getting a cold and stuffy nose from them? I wonder if its plants based would a person have some sort of allergies to it? I have been doing research on SIBO and can not find an answer to my questions.
Thank you for all that you do!
Katja Heino says
Sorry, I’m not sure I can answer your question. I think we can have all sorts of reactions to treating infections in the body. 🙂
Hi, Dr. Amy Myers has a program for SIBO, which seems quite extensive but is also quite expensive. Do I need it? Or will Allimed and the diet cure SIBO? I had Lyme, was on antibiotics for years, also lots of job stress (due to illness), and plenty of NSAID use. I’m pretty sure it’s SIBO… years of AIP diet have dealt with the symptoms well enough, but not the root cause. Symptoms still include: gas/bloating, mild itching/rashes, restless legs, insomnia, chronic fatigue, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, histamine intolerance (can’t drink), and alternating diarrhea/constipation. Help!?