What is SIBO?

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of a condition called SIBO. This bacterial imbalance is being diagnosed in increasing numbers and is grabbing many people’s attention by force.

If you’re feeling chronically inflamed and bloated, it may be helpful to you to learn more about it. Many cleansers have come to us with symptoms and we’ve worked with them to manage them and find relief.

Since we frequently get questions about SIBO and how to manage it, we decided to take a stab at tackling this complicated subject.

So without further ado, here are answers to some burning questions!

What is SIBO?

To put it simply, SIBO, or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, happens when sluggish digestion allows bacteria to set up shop in your small intestine. Once these bacteria take root, they feed off of the foods you consume and produce gases that contribute to a whole host of uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

What symptoms are associated with SIBO?

The most common symptoms of overgrowth are bloating, excessive gas (burping and flatulence), abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and acid reflux.

Your symptoms will vary depending on which types of bacteria are present. Some microbes cause constipation, while others cause diarrhea. These variations will determine what treatment will work best for you.

How do you know if you actually have SIBO?

Your symptoms are a helpful indicator, but they’re not enough. Many other digestive disorders have similar symptoms which can confuse them with SIBO.

Luckily, there is a test. Conventional and integrative doctors alike use a special test called a hydrogen breath test to determine if bacterial overgrowth is present. This test takes a few hours and requires you to breathe into a bag every 20 minutes to collect samples of your breath over time. This is the most popular way to identify SIBO and doctors will typically proceed with treatment once they get your test results.

Which brings us to the next question: how is SIBO treated?

There is no standardized treatment but there are a few commonly used approaches. Conventional medicine usually treats SIBO through a prescribed diet, such as Low FODMAP, and antibiotics.

Integrative medicine practitioners vary in their approach. The same combination of diet and antibiotics is used by some. But many practitioners prefer to use natural antimicrobials instead of antibiotics like oregano oil, berberine, or Oregon grape extract. Some professionals also prescribe different diets such as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the SIBO Specific Diet (SSD), and even the ketogenic diet.

On the Conscious Cleanse, we typically recommend the Low Sugar Plan. This plan has a great track record for helping cleansers reduce their symptoms and start feeling better.

Your treatment will depend on who you work with and what works for your body. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing bacterial overgrowth. Your previous health experiences (such as health conditions and habits) play a significant role in how you heal.

How do you get SIBO in the first place?

There can be several underlying causes of overgrowth. Just one case of bad food poisoning can keep unwanted bacteria in the small intestine. And if you have a pre-existing condition, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s, or chronic pancreatitis, you have a higher chance of getting SIBO.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, we encourage you to give the Conscious Cleanse a try so you can start tackling your symptoms and talk to your doctor about getting tested. If left untreated, overgrowth can lead to other gut health conditions down the line.

We’ve only just scratched the surface in this article. If you have a question we didn’t answer, want more information, or simply want to share your own SIBO journey, please comment below or reach out to us at connect@consciouscleanse.com.

We love hearing from you!

Our goal is always to support you on your health journey so you can feel your very best.

With love and a healthy gut,

Jo & Jules

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  • Sandra Grishaber

    Thank you for the information. As always I love doing your cleanse and enjoy all your recipes. Have a blessed day

    • Jo and Jules

      Hi Sandra, Thank you for your comment! We’re so glad to hear that you love the cleanse and our recipes. We hope to see you on the next cleanse in early Spring! XO, J&J

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