Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, but can’t find any relief? You’re not alone. 10-20% of the population in North America has IBS. Symptoms include altered bowel habits and abdominal pain.
I am excited to have recently joined Dr. Lynn and his team at SFPMG. I am a naturopathic doctor, specializing in chronic illness with a focus on autoimmune conditions, digestive disorders and women’s health. As a naturopathic doctor, I’m always investigating the underlying cause of disease. The most common causes of IBS are the following:
- Overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines
- Poor diet (processed foods, fast food, irregular eating patterns)
- Food intolerances (most commonly gluten, dairy, soy corn, and eggs)
- Abnormal digestive function (inadequate digestive enzymes, low beneficial bacteria, leaky gut, poor motility)
- Infections with parasites or yeast
Take a close look at the first cause listed above. This is a new area of investigation. Fiber is supposed to make IBS better, right? For a large percentage of people with IBS, fiber actually make symptoms worse. When your gas and bloating or IBS symptoms worsen with a fiber supplement or high fiber diet, the cause might be Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
SIBO is a new area of investigation for IBS. In these cases, bacteria overgrowing in the small intestine use complex carbohydrates to multiply. These bacteria produce gas that creates discomfort and altered bowel habits. Even if you’ve investigated many other causes of IBS, or been to a gastroenterologist and they’ve told you that they can’t find anything wrong, SIBO may have been overlooked.
SIBO frequently starts after a course of antibiotics, a parasite infection or a viral illness, though many times the cause is unknown. SIBO is often an underlying cause of numerous health conditions including acne rosacea, interstitial cystitis, restless leg syndrome, autism, hypothyroid, and acid reflux.
Testing for SIBO involves a simple home breath test. Effective treatments use gentle pharmaceuticals and herbs. Low carbohydrate diets, such as the FODMAPs diet, provide additional support for correcting the bacterial overgrowth.
If you’re concerned about SIBO, consult these excellent resources and consider making an appointment.
I look forward to meeting and working with you to create better health.
Warmest wishes in Health and Well-Being,