I’m super excited to share my 2017 SIBO status update with you!
The last time I shared was in August of 2016.
You would think that after the disaster that happened last time I took the test, I would never take it again. Well, I did, and just like before, the drinking solution triggered all my symptoms. I was doing so amazing for so long and then in an instant – bam – misery.
What did this tell me even prior to getting the results back? That the overgrowth is still present, but perhaps not like before. (It also told me that I’m a master at managing symptoms – to which my doctor 100% agreed with yesterday.)
The testing results came back early this week, and somehow I got into a 45-minute phone slot with my doctor yesterday.
2017 SIBO Status Update
Here is what I learned
- Directly from my doctor, “You are encouragingly getting better over time.” Boom. (For the record, anyone who heals SIBO immediately is either super lucky, not telling the whole truth, or had a super subtle version of it.)
- No more testing. From here on out my doctor said we’ll go 100% by symptoms since the testing results don’t nearly show the agony I’m currently (yes, still, over 2 weeks later) feeling.
- When you do the SIBO Breath Test, you do a baseline test and then 9 more breath tests (within a matter of 3 hours). It’s still a little fuzzy, but it’s generally accepted that somewhere between the 7th and 8th testing tube the solution moves from the small to large intestine. Here, you’d naturally see an increase in bacteria. And, on the whole, my increases didn’t really start until then (yes, I still tested positive for both methane and hydrogen, but the levels have vastly been reduced). In fact, I didn’t actually peak (on the whole) until the 7th breath test, which is phenomenal (for me).
And yet still, it is not completely gone.
I have work to do. And that’s okay with me because we are getting closer and have general ideas about what the bottleneck is.
So what am I doing next? 5 main things, 2 of which I don’t think people have considered for healing SIBO.
Click HERE to save these for later.
Stomach acidity levels
I still am not producing adequate stomach acid. We are reducing the amount of pills I take at one sitting (8 to 4) so that I will stay consistent with taking them every single day (with higher protein meals). Additionally, I increased the quality of HCL pill, and immediately ordered THESE HCL pills (updated this on my Recommended Supplements page, too).
That’s right! My doctor thinks we can kick this without another round of Rifaximin + Neomycin. Instead, I’m starting with an aggressive Atrantil dosage (I have had success with minimal amounts of this in the past) mixed with bitters and a few other natural things. If we find that’s not enough, we’ll move onto more intense herbals, and then finally, as a last result, another round of Rifaximin + Neomycin.
Not NO FODMAP
There is so much debate around food as it helps heal or makes symptoms worse when it comes to SIBO. Yes, most people, when at their worst, will feel much better with a low-to-no-FODMAP + GAPS/Paleo/SCD-ish protocol. I was no exception. However, there does come a point on this SIBO journey when merely masking final symptoms is not the solution. As I mentioned above, I’m a master at masking SIBO symptoms. But I don’t want to live this way forever. I want to live, as me, and not with a mask. My doctor said all of that is absolutely correct. Instead of eliminating FODMAP foods (and everything else for that matter), we are working on the underlying issues (one of which I’ve already mentioned – stomach acidity levels). If and when the bloat and upper fermenting becomes too much to handle, I will, of course, temporarily remove FODMAP foods. (Note: I’m also spending the next few days sans-FODMAP foods because I have a half marathon to run on Sunday, and I’m still fairly bloated and miserable from the solution trigger. Ugh.)
Now this is a tricky one, but if you have SIBO, pay attention. When I brought this to my doctor’s attention he stated, “Good catch on your part.” (Guys, I’m a SIBO ninja!) In January, I ran across this article called, “IC Valve Massage: 2 Minute SIBO Therapy Rediscovered.” Go ahead, read the article quickly. I have been going to doctor after doctor with the question, “What is that lumpy ball on my right side that’s protruding?” And they all say the same thing, “No idea; appears to just be tissue.” The article tells you exactly how you can locate your IC Valve, “Often you will feel a tender area or even a hard nodule under your fingers. Sometimes it will feel like a hard but tender golf ball.” And there you have it. The article also mentions that problems with the IC valve can cause a host of digestive-related health concerns. 15 to be exact, and of which I have – very clearly – 13 of them. This is the second issue we will be working on, and my doctor is referring me to an Osteopath for help. In the meantime, I have started massaging it, per the article. Weird, right?!
It’s no secret that one must manage stress in order to keep SIBO at bay. But it’s more than just the stress-SIBO connection. Stress will continue to decrease stomach acid, tank adrenals and thyroid and everything else. It is likely the hardest part for everyone to practice. But it’s critical.
You know that feeling when you work so hard for something and never see results? And when you don’t see results you feel like giving up?
Don’t. Just don’t give up.
Your body is healing when you are putting in the work, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
Healing is never a straight path.
I’ve been trudging away on this path for a very long time, but yesterday was such a beautiful reminder that I can and I will continue getting better.
Updated in 2020 to add: I am healed. HERE is how I healed SIBO long-term.
Track your SIBO healing journey; heal better, faster.
You will heal. I will help.