Here are 7 things about SIBO you should know.

I had the most interesting interaction on the 4th of July at a friends’ BBQ. We knew almost no one that was there, but somehow I met the one person there who I identified with most.

Long story short, there was a guy who was eating plain meat, a little fruit and that was about it. I think he made the comment about how miserable it is to be gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol-free. My husband heard him, they struck up a conversation, and Ryan said he should talk to me.

Fast forward to later in the night when I ran into him, and somehow we got to talking about an antibiotic which is so expensive that you can’t help but deny the initial quote on it. We had similar experiences, and then we realized we were both talking about the same antibiotic, Rifaximin.

At this point, our conversation grew deeper, and we realized just how much we had in common.

He has been progressively getting sicker by the day, major bloating, throwing up, reflux, pain, misery, you name it. Doctors aren’t 100% sure what’s going on, but they suspect SIBO.

Now here’s the kicker, this guy himself is a doctor, a major Bay Area surgeon.

And so our conversation was fairly deep. In the process, I had many new ah-ha moments and came away with 7 things about SIBO.

7 Things About SIBO

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7 Things about SIBO you might not have known #sibo #ibs #guthealth

  1. FODMAPs.

    He had never heard of FODMAPs. I literally had to tell him what they were, examples of foods that contain them, and that they are clearly related to SIBO pain and suffering. That fact isn’t usually uncommon, but he’s a major Bay Area surgeon. A man as brilliant as they come, but the food part for SIBO is not common knowledge. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time and you have (or suspect you have) SIBO, please know that understanding FODMAPs are a critical part of your healing (and/or managing symptoms) efforts.

  2. IBS and SIBO, SIBO and IBS.

    His point of view is that SIBO is a form of IBS, but it’s the form that doctors are now “selling” to be the kind where you can take an antibiotic and that antibiotic will “heal” you. To this, I was nodding my head. “But,” he said, “without fixing the root of the problem, you’ll take round after round of Rifaximin and you will not be healed.” In other words, SIBO, while it now has a specific name, comes with a specific diagnostic test, and collaborates with antibiotics/herbals, is just chronic IBS that will take a lifetime to manage symptoms (i.e. remaining Low-FODMAP, reducing stress, taking enzymes, etc.) In this, he was spot on.

  3. Iberogast

    He told me it’s one of the supplements his functional doctor has him taking that he believes works. I laughed then said, “It’s one of the supplements I have yet to open.” Truth is, I am a walking supplement cabinet. I backed off a ton from supplements, taking only what I think are the critical things. This past weekend I finally opened the bottle. My doctor’s instructions were to take 20 drops, 3 x’s per day. That’s what I’ve been doing.

  4. Bone Broth

    He recently heard about the healing properties of bone broth. In fact, he said, his doctor mentioned babies and children should be drinking it as well (you mean, like THIS?!). He’s not fond of the store-bought bone broths, and I couldn’t help but share with both he and his wife all about my bone broth that I’ve been making it since 2009 and how I believe in all that it can do for healing. I really hope I inspired them to give it a try. 7 Things About SIBO Sit Down, Let's Chat Over Broth

  5. Stress triggers

    He made note that it wasn’t until several years ago when major problems erupted, and he said that it was around the time when major new life stressors entered into the equation. This is spot on. I think I’ve already told you, but these major issues tend to come to the surface after one of three things happen:

    1. A major life event occurs
    2. A major surgery happens and/or
    3. You travel outside the country and pick up a bug. For me? It was my Freshman year of college, beginning of the year. I was just ending a relationship that left me devastated. I was away from my family for the first time ever. And then I came down with an illness that left me out cold for almost 2 weeks. I was never the same.
  6. Our food supply.

    He is a surgeon, a traditional Western doctor, but his thinking is very Western meets Eastern. He stated that our food is making us sick. I couldn’t agree more. While at home in Minnesota, we visited with the family I used to nanny for. Their daughter has major stomach issues, too, and she is in Paris this summer studying. Once she got to Paris, she was eating bread and pasta and all the things. Zero issues. None. Not at all. She is feeling great. Coincidence? I don’t think so. While I don’t believe I am a Maverick Mama, my convictions around food are very real and very serious. I have watched people heal in crazy ways simply by changing what goes into their bodies. Our food supply, on the whole, in the United States, is making us sick.

  7. I will die from this.

    Here I was, standing there talking to this surgeon for almost an hour when we got on the topic of the emotional side of illness. He fully agreed with my viewpoint that while we have not been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the illness is very real and its limitations can feel debilitating. His pain and suffering, vomiting and misery recently had him telling his wife, “I will die from this.” I don’t believe that to be true, and I’m not sure he is 100% confident on that either, but finding yourself in the depths of the doldrums is real. And it’s scary. The emotional side of illness does not just affect women, it affects men, too.


7 Things about SIBO you might not have known #sibo #ibs #guthealth #gut


Here is what I know about SIBO….there is no cure, and there is no magic formula. The sum of the parts are greater than any action taken in a silo. A relapse can happen at any moment, and the anxiety that tends to surround that fact can sometimes get the best of us.

But what I learned most that night? I learned that SIBO is starting to affect more and more people and that we are never alone. Who knew that the very things I have battled with, a surgeon is also battling, too?

And for the record, I continue to stay in remission, and could not be more excited!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. Buyer’s Guide to SIBO Tests
  2. SIBO Q&A with A Gutsy Girl
  3. How I Healed SIBO Long Term

7 Things About SIBO


SIBO is Real and 7 things about SIBO

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  1. Sarah I am literally in tears reading this because I feel like I am finally not alone. I was just diagnosed with SIBO on Thursday and am on my 2nd day of Xifaxan. I am still at a loss as to where I even go from here. As a allergy food blogger I feel like I should know how to heal myself but here I am, wondering the the heck I can even eat that won’t make me feel like I want to die. I probably am sounding so incredibly dramatic right now but it is such a relief to read the information you shared. I would love to connect with you further if you have a few minutes to spare ( I know it is hard to come by). Thank you so much for posting this.

    1. Hi, Annmarie! First of all…lots of hugs. You will get through it. Second, peruse my site. I have written a TON about SIBO. As you are only on your 2nd day of Xifaxan, my biggest piece of advice would be to make sure you are eating FODMAPs while on the antibiotic (at least to the point you can handle them). I’m not sure how long you’ll be on the antibiotic, but do know that it was never until Day 14 when I took a drastic turn for the better. Read this post – You Must Live Life –> Hang in there!

  2. Yeah they all throw us into the IBS bin, the G.I. centers they want to prescribe and cut too, I learned that the hard way when they groupthinked me into cutting a healthy organ out of my body, health got worse, and I was isolated when I needed help more than ever and yes I thought I was dying for about a year afterwards. Surgeons won’t know anything about general health, they might if they have an interest but they are trained in cutting. Half the battle with bone broth is sourcing healthy bones as bones are a lead/heavy metal sink. The stress trigger regarding surgery is right on, since hospital acquired infections are incredibly common, if they even open you up they are giving you intravenous antibiotics to protect themselves as iatrogenic disease is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The antibiotics change your microbiome and your often worse off coming out of the hospital in more ways than one. Fodmaps .. I had emu, zuchini, and two heads/bulbs of garlic I grew myself here for lunch, I’ll be fine until this food gets into my lower intestine then I will pay, but I’m not wasting all this good fresh potent garlic

  3. Hi I just found your blog and soo excited to read all the good info! I am on my 2nd round of rifaximin the first being 550mg twice a day for a month. Couldn’t believe what j could eat while on them but when it was time to stop my Ibs attacks were 10x worse then when I started but within a few weeks they calmed down. That was 2 months ago and now back where I started and taking them again! I don’t want to live a life where I can’t eat! There is nothing that I can eat that tastes good as I have always been a very picky eater! I am sure I will relapse again cause I can’t not eat carbs or become extremely light headed. Is going on the meds often a bad thing! And why would my Ibs get worse after stopping?? Thx

    1. Hi, Barb! So happy you found my blog. To answer your questions…some (even most) people need 2, 3 or even more rounds of the antibiotic to help clear it up. That said, your IBS got worse because you didn’t address the underlying issue. For me, my SIBO relapses when motility comes to a halt. I do several things to keep things moving these days. I hope you find your underlying issue, and that you are able to appropriately address it.

  4. This was tough for me to read. I was just diagnosed with SIBO a week ago after 5 years of suffering with no answers. I’m also 9 weeks pregnant and have a 3 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. I am currently suffering through the worst flare-up of my life to the point that I can hardly get off the couch. I can’t do a single thing to treat it until I’m finished with the pregnancy AND nursing. I have been entrenched in online research, desperate to hear stories of people who have beat this for good but have found very little. “There is no cure” just killed me. I feel like I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that my life will never be the same. I’m sure my pregnancy hormones are making this whole thing so much worse, but I’m feeling so absolutely defeated.

    1. Hi, Anna! I am so sorry to hear all of this, but TRUST ME, I get where you are and how you feel. I feel like I am about to relapse. I have a 3-year-old, 17-month-old and 5 month old. It. Is. Hard. I realize that a lot of people were upset when I said there is no cure. I never wanted to believe it until the doctor went over it in detail with me. I DO believe 1,000% percent that you can go into remission on it for a very long time, even for life, but I also know that that’s really hard to do for many people. I have taken the antibiotic 3 times now, and I vowed I would not take it again for at least a year. The good news is that I know exactly how to get it under control with diet and lifestyle. The bad news is that it’s really, really hard. I wish you peace with it. Hang in there. My website will always be here for love and support. xo

    2. I am so so happy i came across this post. I am about 6 weeks pregnant now and was diagnosed with SIBO 5 days prior to us finding out. Cant take the antibiotic now. I was in the ER with the WORST flare up and at first my GI doc tried to insinuate that this was probably pregnancy related. Absolutely NOT. This is no “morning sickness” so what did you take or do during pregnancy? I am so lost and no idea what to do…

  5. “There is no cure” is not true. SIBO IS treatable. It can be eradicated. I’m working with a holistic doctor currently and we will beat this misery. Please don’t say there is no cure.

    1. But a cure and treatable are not the same things. Also, I didn’t say it. The doctor did. I’ve lived almost 2 years trying to “cure.” When you have cured, then let me know. To know me is to know I aim NOT to depress. I am an optimist but a realist. I wish you well.

  6. Sarah and to all in the feed above. I’ve been dealing with endless tests, chronic fatigue and countless symptoms for over 2 years. Just last night I ended up in the ER again because of dehydration from constant vomiting over the weekend. Last week, the PA at my GI’s office tested me for SIBO and I came up positive (on top of IBS-C). I am at a loss what to eat…my stomach is so upset that eating some of the foods on the HFLC diet I was given just seem horrible when I’m already throwing up. The ER doctors last night had no idea what SIBO was and could offer little help. I have been beginning to think I was crazy until I read this page. I’m interested into why my Dr prescribed me plain old amoxicillin -which I haven’t been able to keep down. Thank you all for sharing your experiences and to Sarah for creating this page. I’d love more information if anyone can share. I’m finding it hard to find relevant and good content online. My regular doctor practices both functional and some holistic practices, do you think I would get better results going the holistic way? My daughter has Celiac’s so we are used to “special” diets and lifestyles that insist on a healthy eating, but this one has me really blown away. Please any tips of where to start would be amazing. Glad I found this page.

      1. I was on low FODMAP and they told me to switch to High Fat Low Carb (and for the next 3 weeks eliminate all sugars and grains). It seems like this is a very new type of diagnosis and a lot of people don’t really have expertise in what to do. This HFLC diet is much more restrictive on some ends then the FODMAP so that’s why I’m having a hard time. Just eating meats, fruits, and veggies, but with an upset tummy, that’s hard to do. Hoping it will start turning around. I’m just thankful to come across your blog already. I fell like I’m going crazy 🙂

  7. Hey Sarah, thank you for your information. I have been struggling for a couple of years and was diagnosed with SIBO last week. I am now on a regiment of the antibiotic. I am so happy I found your blog and look forward to learning more.

  8. So curious to hear how you go with Iberogast stuff.. my functional therapist literally has no idea what’s going on after many tests and has said here take this and I haven’t heard from her since 🤦🏼‍♀️ Exceptionally infuriating.
    Needless to say I’ll keep trying to work out my gut issues on my own.
    But yes a post on your progress with Iberogast would be good to hear if you’re down 🙂

  9. What a great article ! I was diagnosed last August w/sibo. Battling almost a year. 3 rounds Abxs.. oregano , peppermint then garlic , digestive enzymes and MMC select(similar to ibergast) .. and had to slowly slowly work up to a soil based probiotic (all others made it worse). Watch my die()also just cut out eggs and butter)also started celery juice last few weeks and felt the die off symptoms . Have my ups and downs . I just try to manage it . I am having better days but then I flared when I drank some wine! Felt like death after so no more alcohol . I also went out of the country and then dealt with hard break up.. I’m convinced that started this all. Thanks for all of your info!

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