Why am I bloated? The skinny on SIBO

Bloating, cramping, burping, reflux, constipation and diarrhoea. These are symptoms of SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).
We have trillions of bacteria in our large intestine, but we’re actually not supposed to have much bacteria in our small intestine. The small bowel is meant for digestion and absorption of food. When the bug population in our small bowel is too high, fermentation happens too early and gases are produced. That’s SIBO in a nutshell: an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine that produces gases causing bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhoea.
SIBO damages the small intestine and affects our ability to digest and absorb food, bringing with it a host of issues like nutrient deficiencies, worsening food sensitivities, joint pain, and skin rashes.
How do I know if I have SIBO?
If you think your symptoms are ticking the boxes for SIBO, you can do a breath test to confirm. To organise the breath test, chat to a SIBO savvy practitioner, or visit sibotest.com for more information.
Why do I have SIBO?
SIBO can be caused by an infection like gastroenteritis, certain medications (proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, opiates, and narcotics) chronic stress, low stomach acid, and a poor diet with lots of simple carbs.
How do you treat SIBO?
SIBO treatment uses a two pronged approach: decrease the bug population with either antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials; and starving the bugs with a SIBO diet. You will need to be guided by a practitioner to be supported through this properly.
What’s the SIBO diet all about?
Basically, the bugs feed on sugars, carbohydrates and starches. So we avoid foods that contain sugars that the bugs like to ferment.
The SIBO diet is a modified low FODMAP diet. It has an intro phase that initially excludes all dairy, grains, fruits, legumes, and certain vegetables. We then move patients through to the maintenance diet that allows the reintroduction of some of these foods. It is recommended that the SIBO diet be followed for a minimum of three months.
When starting a SIBO diet, you can have a fast and profound improvement in digestive symptoms. However, knowing what to eat in the beginning can be difficult and stressful. The Health Lodge offers patients the option to come and stay for one to two weeks at the beginning of treatment. Having your SIBO friendly-meals prepared by our Wellness Kitchen, spending time in the kitchen learning how to cook delicious SIBO-friendly dishes, and getting support from our naturopaths on how to follow the SIBO diet at home takes the difficulty out of starting a SIBO diet, making the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.