I have been taking the antibiotics and going through the motions for one week now, so I thought I’d pop in for an update on healing SIBO for good volume 2.

You can read Volume 1 HERE. And you can read Volume 3 HERE.

Update as of April 2017: I am thriving and my SIBO is almost gone completely. 

Update as of 2020: I am healed.

Healing SIBO for Good Volume 2 sarahkayhoffman.com

Week 1, Healing SIBO for Good Volume 2

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The first few days were rough, really rough. The morning dose of Rifaximin mixed with Neomycin made me nauseous.

I ate plenty with each dosage, but I still had the worst nausea and, for the most part, just laid on the couch for 30-45 minutes until it passed. I never had this happen when I only took the Rifaximin before, so I’d guess it’s the Neomycin or the combination of the two antibiotics. The past couple of days I have been much better, though.

On the second day, I also came down with a nasty cold. My throat killed and I felt just blah all around. I know they say that these antibiotics don’t have side effects because they stay localized in the small intestine, but I still believe that the combination of the Rifaximin plus Neomycin has my immune system down. I am on the back end of the cold, and hoping that was the lowest point for my immune system.

The first few days I was also bloated like none other.

With SIBO, my gut reacts as such: I instantly feel the pain just under the breastbone. It moves a lot and growls some. I feel starving and famished for about a day, consequently causing me to eat, eat, eat.

When it’s the worst, I feel nauseous (which happened last week). Within a few hours up to a day later, that uncomfortable feeling just drops to the lowest part of my gut. It feels like a hardened, yet loose bubble sac. If I touch it, it makes a sloshing noise. Bowel movements aren’t even much relief because if the problem still exists, the cycle either starts over or never recovers.

And so these feelings, for the first few days, gave me the worst anxiety (which does zero good) because I couldn’t get comfortable and at any given moment I’d go from normal to 6-months pregnant. This is – by far – the worst part of the illness for me.

I cried it out a ton.

Which leads me to….


To only talk about the antibiotics, food, supplements and other physical things without also talking about feelings and the emotional side of illness would be doing you a disservice.

I just told you I cried it out a ton.

I did. And I’m learning that this okay. In fact, it might not be a part of your healing process, but I think it’s a part of mine.

I cry because I’m scared and mad and frustrated and everything else that goes along with it.

I’m scared because thoughts creep in,

What if I never heal and living like this is my destiny?

I’m mad because I do believe I am the only one to blame in this situation.

And I’m frustrated because I am doing so much, working so hard and then some days just continue getting slapped in the face.

But even with all those feelings, I kept telling myself that I had to stay the course. Because I am confident in what I’m doing, there was no way I was going to give up.

Missing Out

Last Friday night I was supposed to have dinner in San Jose with a friend. But Friday was, by far, the worst day for me. I could barely move my stomach was so bloated, and I had just come down with that nasty cold. I ultimately canceled dinner, but here’s the thing – I really needed to see this friend and do dinner with her because she’s one of the only people in the entire world that gets me in this way.

So I thought about that a lot the next day, how SIBO has caused me to miss out on so many things these past few years.

I talked it out and wrote it out. And I began to understand even more of these bottled up emotions I’ve been holding.

Healing SIBO for Good - Volume 2 sarahkayhoffman.com Healing Bullet Journal

Healing Bullet Journal

A while back I began studying the Bullet Journal method for tasks and journaling.

I have a simple daily planner that I really enjoy, so I wasn’t looking to bullet journal in the traditional sense.

Instead, I was looking to create a method for tracking the SIBO healing process. Each day I learn something new, and I think I’m on to something with this quick and easy healing bullet journal.

I have every intention of sharing it with you, either here on the blog and/or in the new Gutsy Bible 3.0 which I’ve been working on. (Update: You can read about this via Gut Healing Bullet Journal.)

I believe this could help so many women, too, and I can’t wait to share!

Updated in 2020 to add: Now that I’m healed, I created this physical journal to help every single one of you with your own journey.


Like a Medical Puzzle

I don’t like putting puzzles together. I never have, and I don’t think I ever will. For me, puzzles take too long, and they require too much sitting around. (Side note: this is the same reason I don’t go to the movie theater.) But Samarah likes to do puzzles, and I enjoy helping her learn, practice patience and figuring out how things work.

At the beginning of puzzle-time, all the pieces are neatly put together in their respective places. We dump the puzzle out, scatter it all around and then begin.

During this time, everything is a mess. Pieces are everywhere, and chaos has been created.

But here’s the thing about it, in order for Samarah to learn, we must create this chaos so that she can appropriately organize.

The SIBO healing process is exactly like a puzzle. (For example, when I was in those deep, dark moments during the first couple of days, I continued to eat all the FODMAPS. Make it messy to begin cleaning it up. Garlic, anyone?!)

Healing SIBO for Good Volume 2 sarahkayhoffman.com Grace

Today (+Grace)

My Healing Bullet Journal shows exactly what I’m eating each day, along with medications, supplements, workouts, lifestyle, symptoms and all other miscellaneous things. 

Yesterday, day 7 of taking both antibiotics, my journal included notes like:

  • 7.5 hours of sleep
  • 3 rounds of lifting moves + 3 rounds of Tabata (this is new for me vs. doing all Tabata = even less stress on the body)
  • each and every single food I ate, totally included all the FODMAPs + all the things in general
  • took 8 x HCL with 3 of my meals and I’m still experiencing zero burning which tells me I have a long ways to go for increasing my stomach acidity
  • spent 1.5 hours outside, walking, enjoying people and the sun and playing with Samarah
  • hit 10,000 steps
  • my stomach felt great (!)
  • hungry, but a normal hungry now from workouts not gut bacteria feasting on my food

And today, I woke up at 4 am, giving me 8 hours of sleep.

I feel great. My stomach is at peace.

I am ready for the next few days to finish the Neomycin (ends on Friday).

And mostly? I have all the hope in the world.

In one week I’ve been at my lowest, and I’m slowly climbing to some of the greatest days.

All along, I feel wrapped in the arms of grace because I am here to share my story, my experiences and I know that if my worst days help someone reach their own greatest days, it’s all worth it.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

    1. Reasonable SIBO
    2. Do you need a gut healing journal?
    3. What Causes SIBO?


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  1. I really appreciate your part on feelings. I had a total emotional meltdown when I got diagnosed with SIBO. I felt like everyone did not understand why I was so upset. I LOVE food and have always been able to eat just about anything and then all of a sudden I started having all of these horrible gut problems. Then I was told I couldn’t eat so many of my favorite foods and that I had to eat a lot of meat. I was raised a vegetarian. Even though I wasn’t still a vegetarian I mostly ate that way, including a lot of grains and beans in my diet. Then several of my friends kept asking me if I was going into menopause because I was so emotional. Sure enough that was part of the reason I could not stop crying. Of course being uncomfortable everyday after eating, avoiding the foods that I love, loosing a lot of weight quickly was a huge trigger for the tears. I had to treat the menopause and the SIBO. I have always had a bit of stomach problems around my period and then had a bunch of problems right after a miscarriage do the hormone fluctuations I think also contribute to my gut problems. I have been doing a lot of yoga and also working with a yoga therapist. I also read another of your blogs about your Psoas tightness and I too have a tight left Psoas that I have been treating for several years. Thank you for all of your information. It helps to know I am not the only one going through this.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Michelle! I think the feelings part is so tucked away because they are so hard to describe to anyone who doesn’t live it. I would be completely remiss if I didn’t share it because they are a HUGE part of the process, and of healing. Good luck to you!

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