I’ve been in the health field for over 30 years and if there’s one concern I’ve heard repeatedly from my clients it’s that they suffer from excessive gas and bloating!
What makes this difficult is that there is a myriad of possible reasons why your gut might swell up like a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn.
These include things like gluten intolerance, celiac disease, medication side effects, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies or lactose intolerance.
But there is another sneaky cause of chronic gas and bloating (as well as many other symptoms) that mainstream medicine arguably still does not adequately consider or test for.
It’s small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Here’s the scoop on this relatively “new” condition (that really isn’t new at all). If you’ve got gas and bloating that you can’t otherwise explain, please read this blog in its entirety.
To understand SIBO you need to know a little bit about your innards.
Your GI tract has a very careful balance of bacteria. There are relatively few bacteria in your stomach and small intestine; the vast majority are in your large intestine (colon).
This reflects Nature’s perfect design to allow your stomach to carry out the preparatory breakdown of your foods uninterrupted, as well as pave the way for your small intestine to efficiently complete breaking down your foods and absorb nutrients.
Then in the final stage of digestion, your bacteria-rich colon steps in to absorb water and salts from what’s left of your food, break down fiber, and (ideally) create a perfect BM.
SIBO occurs when there is too much bacteria in your small intestine. When this happens, your small intestine can’t carry out its job. What results is fermentation of carbohydrates and putrefaction (rotting) of proteins—in other words, your digestion goes out the window and you suffer gas, bloating and pain.
Note that these also happen to be common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so SIBO can be a cause or contributing factor to IBS.
In addition, if bacteria from your colon slide north into the small intestine where they don’t belong, that can cause fiber to be broken down too soon. Since your small intestine is not equipped to handle fiber, that can also stir up gas and bloating.
But wait! There’s more!
Unfortunately, the problems with SIBO aren’t limited to beach ball belly.
Eventually over time the poor digestion, impaired nutrient absorption and resulting inflammation caused by SIBO can lead to:
- Altered bowel function—constipation and/or diarrhea
- Secretion of mucus from the colon
- Nausea, anorexia
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Skin problems—acne, eczema, rashes or rosacea
- Kidney stones
- Even anxiety or depression!
So, what causes SIBO and how is it diagnosed?
SIBO can be the result of several factors including aging, dysmotility (weakened digestive muscles), low digestive enzymes, pancreatic inflammation, diverticulosis, and even diabetes. It’s also frequently seen in people with celiac disease.
A weak ileocecal valve is another cause. Your ileocecal valve separates the small and large intestines and operates like a door. When it gets weak this can allow some of your colon’s bacteria to slide up into the small intestine.
Plus, certain medications can trigger SIBO, especially immunosuppressive drugs (such as those for autoimmune conditions) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
SIBO is usually diagnosed by a breath test. This involves a person ingesting a dose of a sugar like glucose, xylose or lactulose, then breathing into a collection bag every 20 minutes to measure the level of hydrogen and methane that they exhale.
How to fight back!
They key to fighting back at SIBO is twofold:
1- Help reduce the bacterial overgrowth and
2- Address any underlying issues
Here are some measures that can help:
Fight bacterial overgrowth safely and naturally
The typical treatment for SIBO is prescription antibiotics, but since antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in your system, they can make things worse in the long run and SIBO can recur! Plus the side effects can be downright nasty and include gas, bloating and diarrhea—the very things you want to stop!
To effectively fight the bacterial overgrowth with SIBO, while at the same time helping to protect your delicate gut environment, rely on the power of Nature’s herbal antibiotics with SIBO Defense Blend!
SIBO Defense Blend combines the impressive natural anti-microbial properties of oregano oil and garlic to counteract SIBO and help restore a more healthful bacterial balance.
Oregano oil has been compared to prescription antibiotics in terms of potency, but without their harmful effects on your beneficial bacteria.
And garlic has long been recognized for centuries as a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent, plus it’s a natural anti-inflammatory too.
Have a nutritious, fiber-rich diet
Having a whole foods diet including lots of fresh vegetables can help counteract SIBO in several ways.
First of all, a low-fiber diet is a primary cause of a weakened ileocecal valve, since too little fiber can lead to constipation and excessive straining with BMs. Getting more fiber can pave the way for an easier time when Nature calls and allow the valve to gradually strengthen.
In addition, a diet high in processed foods, refined sugars and carbs can create an environment in the intestines that favors dangerous bacteria and can pave the way for SIBO.
Lastly, too much sugar in the diet is a primary cause of decreased motility (peristalsis) in the small intestine—which is another cause of SIBO!
Keep it real when it comes to your diet, and make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day too. If you need help in the diet department, check out my Great Taste No Pain system.
Great Taste No Pain shows you how to create scrumptious meals featuring nutritious real foods that are much easier for your system to break down. Plus, it gives you a collection of delicious easy recipes too!
Consider digestive enzyme supplementation
SIBO can be the result of too few digestive enzymes, so if you are running low in the enzyme department (this especially applies to people over 50, people who use acid reducers and people who have had gastric or gallbladder surgery), then a complete enzyme formula like Digestizol Max is just what you need!
Digestizol Max’s blend of 15 plant-derived enzymes pinch-hits where your body may be running short to help all of your foods get broken down completely and comfortably.
Stress causes harmful changes to your gut microbes, and heaven knows you don’t need that on top of SIBO!
Do whatever you can to reduce stress in your life. Measures such as exercise, deep breathing, prayer, counseling, meditation, acupuncture and adopting a pet have all been shown to help.
To your health and SIBO-free life,