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Is it SIBO or IBS?

Gut problems are more common than you think.

As a naturopath, we are allllll about the GUT. Tell me as much as you possibly can. Farts, bloating, poops, burps, nausea, butterflies, I love any info that you can share. This all feeds into your overall health. Now this being said, many of my clients will come in with a variety of these symptoms, however, more often than not, they never have the same diagnosis. So over the next month, I will be bringing out a general overview of 3 common gut illnesses that I get asked about all the time, SIBO (with a little on IBS), GERD/reflux, and diverticulitis.

Using a general gut relief type supplement may help but for most, specifics are what you need to really make a difference.

What is IBS?

Most of my clients either suspect or have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowle Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and/or constipation. The pathophysiology has long been limited for some time with a consensus that there is a psychological component. There is now speculation and discussion that this is due to a variety of underlying reasons such as disturbances to microbiome balance, post or chronic infections, immune activation thus inflammation, and increased intestinal permeability (something I have said for a long time). It has been speculated that up to 80% of those diagnosed with IBS actually have a form of SIBO.

What is SIBO?

Small Bacterial Bowel Overgrowth, or SIBO, is an overgrowth within the small intestines, of the bacteria more commonly found in the bowels. This alters your transit time and thus produces diarrhea or constipation alongside pain, bloating nausea, and a variety of other gut symptoms. There are methane and hydrogen dominant presentations and this can be hard to diagnose and investigate without functional testing (breath tests).

Many people have concomitants such as rheumatoid, rosacea, and eczema among other skin complaints, depression, and edema to name a few. Endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have additionally been linked to SIBO.

This brings me to why. The why will allow us to effectively manage and treat the root cause. Poor diet, stress, poor intestinal clearance, and food poisoning among other speculated pathologies, all can play a role in the progression of SIBO.

What can I do?

Many people have heard of various diets and supplements that can help, from gluten-free, low fodmap, low histamine to quercetin, and antimicrobial to fibre supplementation. They all have their place in the treatment space however, must be indicated for you. Best practice through a great practitioner will better allocate your resources, allowing for successful outcomes.


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