You probably don’t think about it often, but your gut is actually filled with thousands of bacteria.
Your gastrointestinal microbiota is made up of over 300 different species of bacteria with almost 2 million genes. In fact, the amount of bacteria in the gut is almost 10x greater than the amount of cells in your body. These bacteria play a vital role in supporting your overall health – your immunity, thyroid function, bone health, and even your heart and brain health.
But sometimes, bacteria grows where it’s not supposed to. While your intestines do house bacteria, most of it is usually found in the large intestine. But when there’s an abnormal spike of bacteria within the small intestine, it can result in a condition known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.
If you’ve been suffering from severe gas, cramping, bloating, or diarrhea – the kind that just won’t go away – SIBO may be the culprit.
What causes bacteria to grow in the small intestine? The short answer is: It depends. The causes of SIBO vary tremendously, which is why it’s critical to get to the true root cause.
Because healthy bacteria in your gut supports the health of so many of your systems, this means that any of these symptoms could become the trigger that stimulates SIBO. For example, your microbiome plays a key role in your body’s immunity. But when your immune system isn’t functioning properly, it can cause complications, one of which is stimulating bacteria growth in your small intestine.
When large amounts of bacteria are present in your small intestine, it creates an imbalance that results in a whole host of symptoms. The most common symptoms of SIBO are gastrointestinal in nature and include:
Symptoms of SIBO can overlap with those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This is why we strongly recommend testing.
During your appointment, Dr. Borenstein will start by physically examining you and listening to your stomach. Based on his findings, he may choose to move on to any of the following diagnostic tests:
These tests will help identify the root cause behind your symptoms.
There are multiple ways to help improve the symptoms of SIBO. Based upon Dr. Borenstein’s findings, he will design a customized treatment for you that includes the following steps:
Having impaired or slow gut motility can be a cause of SIBO. Part of the healing process involves restoring your MMC. This can be done through promotility medications as well as making nutrition and lifestyle changes, such as:
These changes can help regulate your MMC and improve symptoms of SIBO.
The gold standard for SIBO treatment is long-term antibiotic therapy. The specific antibiotics chosen depend on the bacteria types present in your GI tract. This treatment aims to reduce the number of bacteria present in your small intestine.
Using the findings from his exams and diagnostics, Dr. Borenstein will develop protocols that may either include antibiotics or more natural remedies, such as Microb Clear, to kill off the bad bacteria in a more natural way.
One of the most powerful ways to starve out overgrown bacteria is to remove foods from your diet that promote that specific type of bacterial growth. These foods include:
In its place, Dr. Borenstein will encourage you to up your intake of healthy fats, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, and lean proteins.
Naltrexone (a medication used to help people overcome opioid misuse) has been proven to help treat SIBO when given in low doses. When dosed at <10% of its regular strength, it can help lessen inflammation in the bowels and reduce SIBO symptoms.
The key to successfully treating SIBO is identifying what’s causing your bacterial overgrowth, then staying the course in treating it. There are many potential root causes to SIBO, and treatment takes time and patience. It also takes expertise.
At Manhattan Integrative Medicine in West Palm Beach, Dr. Borenstein specializes in uncovering the root cause behind your SIBO and creating a tailored treatment plan to resolve it. To schedule an appointment, call our West Palm Beach, FL clinic today at (561) 448-6650 or contact us online.
You don’t have to continue suffering with SIBO. We look forward to helping you find relief for your symptoms and addressing the root cause of your condition, so you can get back to living the life you so deserve.
Serving patients in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Parkland, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding Palm Beach County, Florida communities.