Nothing puts a damper on your day like a sick stomach. For some people, this is an everyday reality. If you find yourself constantly feeling uncomfortable, you may want to look to your microbiome for some answers.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
SIBO is just as the name states- an excessive amount of bacteria in your small intestine. Some people suffer from mild discomfort, while others struggle with chronic diarrhea or nutrient deficiencies. Scientists originally thought this diagnosis was limited to those with an abnormal gastrointestinal tract or issues with intestinal contractions, but new data says otherwise (1).
What are the symptoms of SIBO?
If you’ve had a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome you may want to look into testing for SIBO. They share symptoms such as: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and a distended abdomen. So, it’s super easy to mix up the two (1). Doctors usually use a breath test to diagnose SIBO because it’s the cheapest and least invasive way to look at bacteria levels.
Why use a hydrogen breath test?
In the human body, there’s no source for hydrogen gas except for when bacteria metabolizes carbohydrates. SIBO tests involve looking at the body’s response to glucose or lactulose (2). Medical professionals will ask you to fast and modify your diet prior to the test.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
While SIBO refers to an excess of bacteria in the small intestine, leaky gut occurs when toxins and other germs leak out of the bowel. When these nasty substances are absorbed by the bloodstream, they can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body.
In a GI system, a protective barrier lines the bowel- absorbing good nutrients and preventing the bad stuff from escaping. Alcohol, NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), and aspirin can irritate and damage the cells, causing gaps in the lining (3). If you have a history of diabetes, chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, or celiacs disease you’re more like to develop a leaky gut. There is also a link between having a previous case of salmonella or norovirus and losing bowel lining.
Other Causes of a Leaky Gut
Modern alternative medicine is noticing a link between a poor diet, overuse of antibiotics, and excessive bacteria in the bowel as causes of a leaky gut (3). Sound like you? If so- be weary of the consequences. Research suggests this syndrome can lead to migraines, food allergies, skin conditions, and even multiple sclerosis.
Treating Gut Problems
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat SIBO, however, that doesn’t necessary fix the underlying issue of your intestinal health (4). Probiotics are becoming a more promising approach to promoting gut and bowel health. A properly formulated probiotic (like BINTO’s!) can promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Adjusting your diet to work on the underlying issue is also a good idea. Avoid foods that irritate your body, and make sure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients you need.