Hey friends. Today I wanted to keep it relatively short (and personal) with a quick update on how my SIBO die-off and overall recovery progress has been going. For those of you just joining my journey, you read my diagnosis post here.
In a nutshell, after about 4+ years of struggling with digestion and constipation issues, and having wrong diagnoses and ineffective treatments, I finally found a doctor I trust and like, and who has been able to successfully diagnose me and put me on a natural, homeopathic/herbal-based treatment program.
SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, which basically means that bacteria from my large intestine (colon) has been growing up into the small intestine where it does not belong at all! The small intestine is supposed to be a sterile place so having unwanted bacteria in there can really mess with you. In fact, the bacteria start to feed on the food and nutrients that enter your small intestine and that leads to malnutrition and malabsorption of the vitamins, minerals and nourishment that our body needs to feel its best.
As a result, you experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including gas, bloating, belching, abdominal pain, constipation (because those with SIBO tend to develop IBS as well), and even depression, weight loss, eczema, rosacea and more.
This would explain ALL of my symptoms over the years. I had this “aha” moment this morning. For years nothing has been making sense and it’s been frustrating, but now, things are starting to click. And the more I read about the connection between the gut and the rest of the body, the more I know that I am on the path to healing, and that makes me happy.
So, to fix it, we decided to starve the bacteria and force them to die off, with a special herbal supplement that relies mostly on garlic, berberine sulfate, goldenseal root, gentian root extract, and a few other roots/barks. Garlic has special properties that are key for reducing inflammation, detoxifying the body and improving immunity, but it can also be a gut irritant for some (including me). My doctor and I decided it was worth the risk.
I don’t know much about the other plants/herbs to be honest, but the main one is berberine, and according to Dr. Mercola, it has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties and is effective against a wide range of bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.
The plan was to take three capsules two times a day for 10 days. Today is my LAST day! I am also taking two other herbal supplements alongside this one. The first is a magnesium-based osmotic laxative because I’ve been taking Miralax for about 2 1/2 years now and I want to discontinue using it (it’s not naturally derived) and my doctor felt the same, but also, these other SIBO meds can cause constipation so it would not be a good time to quit cold turkey.
The other is hyperimmune chicken egg supplement, which is helping with my autoimmunity problems, my IBS and will hopefully restore a natural balance back in my body. Sounds weird, but at this point, I am on board with weird!
Things have been rough, not going to lie. The first five days I felt like I had the flu and experienced the following symptoms:
The good news is that these are in-line with the typical SIBO die-off symptoms, so I can take solace in knowing that the meds are doing their thang. And now that I only have one day left of treatment, I’ve adapted to them and generally feel good. I’ve noticed that after my meals I did not experience the abdominal pain, belching and overall feeling of being too full/bloated that I normally did.
Even my boyfriend noticed a change in my overall behavior, which included less complaining and irritability 🙂 Win win!
After I finish up this first round of killing off the bad bacteria, I move on to phase two, which is the rebuilding phase. And this includes a TON of broad spectrum probiotics.
Through my SIBO research, I know a lot of people also follow the FODMAP diet to aid the die-off and healing process, but my doctor did not recommend this. I wonder if it’s because I am already eating a ketogenic diet (which eliminates alcohol and high sugar/processed foods), and am dairy, gluten and soy free, which are the main food groups that act as gut irritants and that also feed the bad bacteria in my small intestine.
I’ve also read that SIBO can have a tendency to come back over time. I hope that doesn’t happen but if it does, at least I now know how to recognize the signs of it and can go through a streamlined treatment process.
Stay tuned for an update on my rebuilding phase soon! I go back to the doctor in early August for a check up and for my blood tests to determine which autoimmune disease I have.