Do you suffer from bloating, constipation, gas or wind? Would you like to know what causes it? There is a little-known condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) that is estimated to cause up to 84% of cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So how can you tell if you have it?
Have you ever had to undo your belt buckle because your gut has bloated and made you look like you’re pregnant? Bloating is a really common symptom of SIBO and is caused by gasses being released by the bacteria as they ferment and digest your food.
2. Abdominal pain and cramps
Unexplained pain and cramping commonly occur and can leave you feeling miserable and very uncomfortable.
Have you noticed that you don’t have daily bowel movements? Or perhaps you don’t feel like you have fully emptied your bowels when you have been to the toilet. The excess bacteria in your small intestine can disrupt the regular movement of the bowel, called the Migrating Motor Complex, which can lead to constipation.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, some people experience regular diarrhoea with SIBO because their gut is over stimulated. Not only is this unpleasant, it also makes outings difficult as you are left worrying about where the closest toilet is.
5. Gas and wind
Feeling gassy? This is another common symptom of SIBO. The gasses (burping and wind) are created by the bacteria as a bi-product of them eating and fermenting your food. The small intestine isn’t designed to be full of gas, so it needs to escape, and comes out as a burp or wind.
6. Food intolerances or sensitivities
The excess bacteria in your small intestine can result in you becoming intolerant or sensitive to foods. Have you noticed that foods you once ate with abandon now cause any or all of the symptoms listed above?
7. Restless leg syndrome
Have you ever felt like your feet and legs are full of ants and you want to rip them off or kick them until the sensation stops? Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is commonly experienced by people who have SIBO. It is believed that the damage to the gut lining, caused by the SIBO, increases the likelihood of RLS occurring.
So what can you do about it?
The first step in understanding if you have SIBO is to find a Practitioner who is experienced in this condition. They will order a breath test for you to take at home, which will analyse if you have excess bacteria in your small intestine. If the results come back positive, they will develop a treatment program for you to reduce your bacteria. Treatment options include antibiotics, herbal supplements or a specially formulated liquid diet. In conjunction, a temporary modified diet is followed to reduce the foods the bacteria love to eat and thrive from. To find a Practitioner near you or to read more about SIBO, click here. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on delicious SIBO-friendly recipes, helpful articles, and all things gut health.
Rebecca Coomes is an author, entrepreneur, passionate foodie and intrepid traveller. She transformed her health after a lifetime of chronic illness, and today guides others on their own path to wellness. She is the founder of The Healthy Gut, a platform where people can learn about gut health and how it is important for a healthy mind and body and coaches people on how to live well with SIBO. Rebecca is the author of the world’s first cookbooks for people treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and the host of the SIBO cooking show and The Healthy Gut podcast.
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