If you’re reading this series, my guess is that you have been diagnosed with SIBO or you suspect that you may have it. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
When I was first diagnosed with SIBO, I was actually relieved because I’d been jumping from one doctor to another. Based on my symptoms, it seemed very likely that I could have SIBO. When I asked the first doctor to test me, he just rolled his eyes. The second doctor told me to go ahead and assume I had SIBO and, without bothering to test me, prescribed me antibiotics.
It didn’t work. (Turns out that SIBO can’t be fixed by simply taking a pill!)
Luckily, my third doctor did test me and, sure enough, by then I had a severe case of methane dominant SIBO, which is the hardest to treat.
Of all the diagnoses I’ve had over the years, SIBO has been one of the most frustrating one and the most complex to treat. Except for a few specialists, most doctors are not very knowledgeable on this subject and many are quick to dismiss it as something of nominal importance. Some think it doesn’t even exist and that you should just treat the symptoms and quit your whining.
Even in the hands of a SIBO specialist, such as the ones at the SIBO center in Portland, Oregon, there’s only so much that can be done in a 30 or 60 minute consultation and the bulk of it is in your hands between appointments.
Does this sound familiar to you? I understand your frustration. I understand what it’s like to want to feel well. I also understand how demoralizing it is when you finally start eating healthy foods and get sicker instead of getting better.
I hope that this series about Treating SIBO can provide you with the information you need to navigation your way through diagnosing the condition, understanding treatment options, a prevention strategy, and your diet. Your health is your hands and you deserve it.
Part 6: Hydrogen vs. Methane SIBO
Part 8: Herbal Antibiotics for SIBO
Part 9: Elemental Diet for SIBO
SIBO Success Stories
I had eColi about 20 years ago and my digestive system hasn’t been the same since then. I searched for an answer for years – test after test after test. I went gluten free 4 years ago and that helped at first, but then the symptoms came back. I finally found a naturopath who suggested that I get tested for SIBO (which I had never even heard of). I took the test and was positive for SIBO (hydrogen only).
On Dec. 7th, I started the SCD/Low Fodmap diet and herbal antibiotics (oregano, allicin and berberine – 2 pills of each, 3 times a day). I only made it for two weeks before I had to take a break because I felt so horrible. Severe exhaustion, migraines, d, stomach aches, etc. I went a few days with no herbs and then started back on the berberine and allicin (I gave up on the oregano – too strong for me). I stayed on the diet the whole time and never cheated. I took the herbs for two more weeks, waited a few days and retook the test and it was NEGATIVE!!! I feel so good now and plan to continue the diet.
I am now taking HCL with meals and MotilPro and Nature’s Calm magnesium before bed and I have never felt better. I lost 20 pounds and am able to work out again without feeling exhausted. I just took my first trip since being on this diet (Mexico) and was able to travel without too much extra work.
IBS/SIBO no longer controls me. When I say it controlled me, I mean in nearly every facet of my life. I built my schedule around it, I would have to cancel plans on a frequent basis, I would lie in my bed crying from the pain and hopelessness, and I even had to quit some of my favorite activities such as going to yoga classes and playing racquetball because of my room-clearing flatulence. Back then, I had a bowel movement an average of every 3 to 4 days and when I did, it was not pretty (I will spare you the details). My skin was so itchy every night that my legs would bleed from all the scratching. The only remedy that I had was to take a benadryl and place ice packs over my legs to numb the pain. Western Medicine had no answers for me. They told me I just had to live with it.
Jump forward about three years and here I am today. I have control over my condition and it is liberating! I have had a healthy bowel movement every single day (except about 5 times) for the past 9 months. I no longer have smelly gas and itchy skin only happens if I become a little too brazen with my food choices. Plus- my face is acne-free!
Before you get too excited by how easy I make it sound to heal, I must tell you that these improvements have not come without hard work and determination. I have had to make drastic changes in my life in order to achieve this level of health. I follow a very clean eating regimen that is in tune with my body. If you are ready to make changes in your life, than I believe that you can get better too!
Riley – For more on her story, please visit sibowithhope.com
I have by no means kicked SIBO and anticipate fighting this for a long time to come… but I am chipping away at it, and am almost symptom free. I’ve done two rounds of herbals (neem, oregano, berberine, allicin) and one round of xifaxan plus neomycin. I’m waiting for my 3rd retest. So far I’ve only made small dents with meds. What has made ALL of the difference for me is diet. I am strict low fodmap paleo… But most important for me, for now, has been a ketogenic diet. I keep my fat between 75-80% and I feel like a million bucks. I used to bloat 80% of the time (along with the big C and other awful symptoms) – now that is down to MAYBE 1-2 days a month and almost always because of a histamine issue.
Ready to eliminate SIBO once and for all? Get your copy of The SIBO Solution: Your Comprehensive Guide to Eliminating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth by clicking HERE. You’ll also receive a BONUS SIBO Detox Support Guide mini ebook with your purchase.
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13 thoughts on “Treating SIBO”
I just wanted to thank you for all of your research and sharing, and I also wanted to let other people know that I was able to order the Physician’s Elemental Diet formula without a prescription through ovitaminpro. Simply create an account and order… simple as that. I wish I’d know this months ago! I hope it can be helpful to someone else as well.
I just finished the Elemental Diet (3 weeks – homemade). I’m now slowly introducing food such as meat stock, and now chicken.. I will re-test sibo in 2 weeks because I did herbals at the same time. I was just wondering what you did in the repair phase? Did you start taking certain supplements right away or did you just take a prokinetic? I’ve heard differing opinions. My ND says no supplements, and my nutritionist wants to put me on some to help the immune system in repair such as a repair supplement.
HI- I have been fighting this horrid life altering disease going on two years. I believe it started with a bad case of salmonella poisoning followed by 6 to 8 type of antibiotics. All that being said, I tested positive for SIBO in March. I started on Xifaxin for 14 days and felt great for about 2 months and then, back to feeling nauseous to the point of not functioning. Having random stomach discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas ( in my chest beyond control). I did a second round of Xifaxin and actually didnt feel better at all after. I will say both times I did not change my diet. I bought your book and am following the SIBO diet and still dont feel better. I went from being the picture of health to this mess. Like many others, I went to several GI’s and even the GI who tested me has no clue on natural remedies. I went to acupuncture recently 2 days ago and the day after was like it heightened everything. I know you are not a physician but I do have to ask several things:
1) Did you have or are there any none side effects to the natural remedy you suggest? As you can imagine I am paranoid as to what I take.
2) I did try Lauricidin for some time (a week) and stopped. Would you suggest taking that while on the natural remedy? I probably would guess not as lauricidin is an antibiotic and most of the what you advise on taking are antibiotics. What about Lauricidin after the natural treatment?
3) Thoughts on acupuncture to help with SIBO?
4) Do you still take prokinetics? How did you know when you stop?
I also plan on setting up a consult with the SIBO center in Oregon but figured I would ask.
Of course any words, thoughts, insight, advise is appreciated !
And congrats to you for getting healthy!
I purchased your book recently and found some helpful advice in it. Thanks,
I have been on Siebecker’s sibo diet for 2 weeks, but I am having a really hard time. After being on it for a week and being hungry, but okay, I read that you are not supposed to have a whole slew of the things I was eating for at least the first month.
Cruciferous vegetables, rutabagas, beans, nuts, nut flours, nut butters, nut milk, coffee, etc…
This leaves me eating pretty much just zucchini and carrots for my vegetables. I have been eating a lot of beef for my protein, which I don’t usually eat a lot of.
I am testing an intolerance to chicken and turkey.
I was having an easier time for the first week when I was eating broccoli, kale, chard, bok choy, almond milk, peanut butter, and other nuts.
Is it vital to not eat those things for the first month or so? I am on an herbal antibiotic and I would like to knock this out as quickly as possible, but I don’t think I can keep eating the diet when it’s this limited. It is really stressful. I started adding gelatin which makes my stomach feel a little more full and better. Do you have any advice?
Firstly, a well deserved THANK YOU for all of this valuable info you’re providing. After years of symptoms unexplainable within western medicine I have discovered recently with the help of an integrated GP that I have a heavy overgrowth of Streptococcus within my gut, alongside several undergrowths of beneficial bacteria and e-coli. The tests performed here show what is considered within range is a streptococcus colonization of <5% and mine is currently hovering just above 85%!
I have recently stated the diet, and am also on a long course of low dose antibiotics (week on, week off) to suppress the bacteria, with loading if several strains of probiotics on alternate weeks.
I'm hoping you may be able to provide some further information as to what to expect symptomatic ally within the initial stages of treatment. I've heard "it gets worse, before it gets better" – but knowing what to expect may ease the transition. I'm only on day 6 of the 3 month initial treatment, and i know there is worse to come!
Hello, I finally was diagnosed with a NP that I have SIBO on top of also having Candida. I’ve had this condition since August 2014.The NP gave me herbs that have not worked over a 2 month period. I have purchased your ebook and started with your herbal antibiotics today. Is it ok to take anti fungal (for the Candida) while taking the SIBO herbs? Is there an alternate post treatment option for erythromycin? This antibiotic makes me ill? After almost 2 years of suffering, I am very hopeful your treatment will finally help me.
Glad you’re on your way to recovery! Some naturpaths will add the antifungals during the SIBO treatments and some will recommend you do the treatments separately. I would check with your doc to see what he/she recommends.
As for erithromycin, yes there are a few different prokinetics I recommend in my ebook. You might need to experiment with a couple to see which one works best for you. But just to clarify on the erithromycin it should be just 50mg so usually a quarter of a pill, so not the full antibiotic dose.
Hope that helps. Would love to hear back from you in a few months.
I don’t mind you sharing my comment at all. Everyone fighting this beast should read your blog, and I’ve commented as such in a couple FB support groups.
Thank you, Gina. I really appreciate that. 🙂
I can’t thank you enough for sharing this SIBO series with us. I just found out today I’m SIBO free. I did begin treatment with pharmaceuticals for 2 weeks, but then I continued attacking with your “kitchen sink” herbal protocol. It obviously worked for me. I know the healing and rebuilding journey now is just beginning, but I’m so thankful to be moving on from the eradication and annihilation stage. Thank you again for sharing. Your success story was the light at the end of the tunnel I needed during some low places.
I’m SO happy for you! Do you mind if I share your comment as a testimonial with others?
Thanks so much for letting me know.
I’ve started herbals and am coupling with elemental diet. But, I am starting too worry that might do too much to kill my good bacteria. The protocol I’ve seen with Siebecker and others don’t necessarily pair the two treatments as you have. Did you work with a practitioner to decided to do them at the same time?
Hi Lilly, Yes I did. Its an aggressive approach for sure.