If you have “tried everything” and are still having regular IBS symptoms and ongoing gut health issues, seriously consider SIBO, Candida and Leaky gut as being potential contributing factors. Dysbiosis of the gut can be going on for years in the background without you knowing it.
There were a lot of terms I had heard without really understanding them. I hope this will help you understand the main concepts better:
What is SIBO (and dysbiosis)?
SIBO sounds like a new washing powder, but it’s short for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. It is possible to have bacterial overgrowth in the stomach, but it is more common in the small intestines.
SIBO is a type of dysbiosis (imbalance in gut bacteria).
I will spare you the medical blurb on this and keep it simple.
Think of SIBO as pond weed – but in your gut…
In the gut we have many different strains of good bacteria that help us with the digestive process. And there are a few bad guys hanging around too, but there are just a few of them. The body is very good at autoregulating.
SIBO is generally thought to be caused by eating lots of refined sugars and industrially processed foods, or you have been on regular antibiotics against viral infections (not to be confused with herbal antibiotics that can be used as treatment for dysbiosis).
However if you experienced a difficult childhood and/or regularly experience high levels of stress and regular IBS flare-ups, this can also encourage dysbiosis in the gut.
Then the bad guys multiply and take over – a bit like pond weed. The trouble with the bad guys is that you can’t see them.
But if you are regularly bloated, the chances are that they are there and causing a disturbance. And they can stay there for years and years and clog up your digestion without you realizing it, causing you to bloat whatever you eat.
How do I know if I have got SIBO?
You don’t have to have a test done.
But you won’t know for sure unless you get tested for it.
Symptoms of SIBO
Consider looking into SIBO if you suffer from bloating, diarrhea and constipation, nausea, itchy skin, and brain fog.
What about H. Pylori?
H. Pylori is a strain of bacteria that causes inflammation and ulcers in the gut. To check for H. Pylori you will need a specific urea test.
Tests are not always 100% reliable, but they give a good indication. If your tests come back negative, and you are having long-term IBS problems, you may want to try a SIBO treatment anyway and see if it makes any difference.
What is Candida? Is it the same as SIBO?
Yes and no. We are still talking about a type of dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut bacteria) but of a specific fungus called Candida Albicans. This is often referred to as a yeast infection.
Candida is a fungus naturally present in our digestive system that helps the body break down food and absorb nutrients. If overgrowth occurs (generally for the same reasons as for SIBO) And this overgrowth occurs principally in the mouth and intestines, but can also affect the skin and other parts of the body. A hydrogen and methane breath test will indicate if you have it, but there are other urine and stool tests too.
Symptoms of Candida
Symptoms include bloating and difficult digestion. However there are specific symptoms like sugar craving, bad breath and a coated tongue, hormone imbalance (thought to be caused by a byproduct of Candida that mimics estrogen), and fatigue.
Sinus and throat problems can also indicate the presence of Candida.
And what is Leaky gut?
Leaky gut is more like star Wars!
As your digestion gets clogged up and the good guys are fewer in numbers, they get bad at digesting your food.
Tiny parts of the gut wall, one of our major immune system barriers, get inflamed and worn down, letting through undigested food particles into the bloodstream.
Your immune system recognises these food particles as invaders and attacks them.
The next time you eat that food, the chances are that your immune system will react to it again – and this is the start of food intolerance, and why you can continue to develop new food sensitivity.
If you are unlucky ou can, of course, have SIBO, Candida, and leaky gut!
So how can I get my gut in balance?
Traditional treatment for gut health issues involves prescribed drugs, herbal antibiotics, prebiotics and probiotics.
However I would urge you to look deeper into WHY you have imbalance in your gut, and gut health issues.
You can treat the symptoms, but if you never get to the ROOT CAUSES, dysbiosis of the gut will likely come back again – along with other IBS symptoms.15