SMALL INTESTINE BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH
Following on from the blog about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) we will discuss another very common reason why our clients come to Aria and become regular clients using colonics as part of their long term health and wellbeing management.
The accepted definition of SIBO is “ the abnormal overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine”. As you know the right types and levels of bacteria in the body are imperative to good health, most of it residing in the large intestine ( the colon) where your faecal matter is stored waiting for elimination. The large intestine is meant to have diverse, large volumes of bacteria that live and form your body’s unique microbiome ( refer to other blogs about this area). The small intestine however is primarily there to ensure the food (chyme) from the stomach is mixed with specific digestive enzymes and broken down so the nutrients can be absorbed into your bloodstream and transported throughout your body for cell repair and renewal.
The small intestine should have relatively few bacteria species and volume because the small intestine should be moving the nutrients out quickly and because bile from the liver and gallbladder is present this is not the right environment for bacteria to flourish.
The small intestine you may remember is the longest section of your digestive tract, measuring in at around 6 metres, you also may remember the end of it is called the ileum, joins to the large intestine and there is a one way valve that stops back flow of faecal matter and bacteria from your colon back into the small intestine.
When SIBO occurs the population of bacteria ( often ones not commonly seen in the digestive tract) increases. This if left untreated can cause health havoc and is often a concurrent condition with IBS, and both in some ways mimic each other’s symptoms and signs making diagnosis of either separately challenging.
In recent years there has been much research about SIBO in both the medical community and naturopathic and allied health areas. A lot of the initial research has come out of the USA but now Australia is becoming far more focused on devising management plans that include both medical intervention and the use of naturopathic supplementation. It’s important to always incorporate what you as an individual needs to get well again. Sometimes the use of pharmaceutical agents like antibiotics are necessary, along with vitamins to boost your nutritional status, probiotics to support your body’s microbiome and colonics to help eliminate fully the contents of your large intestine. It’s what is called a multi modal approach and we here at Aria support you in your choices.
There maybe structural problems, physical abnormalities in your small intestine, from surgery or from an infection. The ph level of your small intestine may not be correct therefore the muscular activity is not functioning correctly.
Surgery and infections in the small intestine can cause scar tissue which are referred to as intestinal adhesions.
Most likely the cause is your small intestine does not move the food reduce along as fast as it should, so the food there becomes stagnant and grows harmful bacteria in response. These bacteria outgrow the rate of any good bacteria present and soon you have the BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH as the conditions names suggests.
Low levels of stomach acid
A weakened immune system, (you may or may not have other immune disorders)
You have just finished an intensive course of antibiotics
It is more likely to affect females , older adults and people who have IBS. Again like IBS these demographics may just be better at self reporting and seeking out help.
MIGRATING MOTOR COMPLEX ( MMC)
This is a really complex physiological process that your small intestine does (isn’t the body amazing). It is often described as the house keeper of the small intestine. In between meals an electro mechanical activity takes place and it sweeps up residual food that hasn’t been digested through the small intestine into the large intestine for storage and elimination.
If not functioning correctly and efficiently, again bacteria can start growing on the stagnant residue and overgrowth occurs the SIBO is developed. Specific pharmacological and naturopathic supplements are given post SIBO treatment to try and encourage the sweeping action.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
As stated before these symptoms can mimic IBS but also Lactose intolerance
- Mild abdominal pain to severe abdominal pain
- Bloating often in the clinic we see more upper area bloating
- Weight loss
- Regular feeling of fullness
- Excess gas production
- Leaky gut
Generally a diagnosis is made based on your symptoms and medical history but to really make sure you get the right treatment testing needs to be done. Many Doctors and Naturopaths are able to order you the specific tests required. If you have these done and you get your results please let us know at the clinic so we can better support you in your health goals, outcomes.
If SIBO is suspected then a BREATH TEST or several will be used to help the formation of your diagnosis. In another blog we will cover these tests but from our experience it really is essential to do these tests as they measure the concentration of two gases that affect your health and can identify food intolerances which may be adversely affecting your wellbeing.
Dietary changes both for IBS and SIBO can really support you in getting better and enable you to take back some of the feeling of been able to help yourself when in both conditions people often feel very stressed and very confused.
Gut bacteria feed on carbohydrates, so the diet you may follow for a few months is not easy but it is doable. This diet is called a low FODMAP, you limit certain carbohydrates to prevent the bacteria from growing further. There is specific quantities and types of foods you can eat and a lot you need to avoid until well again. We will explain more about FODMAPS in another blog.
Doctors will often prescribe you two types of antibiotics ( broad spectrum) to be taken for 2-4 weeks. They are known to eliminate the bad bacteria in most people, but also supplements from a Naturopath are used to support the body. If the root cause is not detected and treated SIBO can reoccur.
You need to prioritise your health when you have SIBO
A series of colonics and maintenance program can really help you navigate the complex treatment regime of SIBO. You may get bowel pattern alterations such as constipation or a worsening of this due to the dietary changes and or because of any medication and supplements you take.
Keeping your large intestine working and strengthening it through using colonics is a great foundational treatment to use in the initial treatment phase and certainly beyond.
SIBO can really make you feel flat, and if you start killing off the bacteria you can for a while feel even more sick. Think about coming in for an INFRA RED SAUNA to destress your body and mind.
We look forward to seeing you at Aria soon and supporting you in your health journey .