What do you do when SIBO keeps relapsing? Perhaps the better questions is, “Why does SIBO relapse?”
SIBO is so important. SIBO is real, and it’s popularity (not the good kind of popular) is growing.
I have been saying it for such a long time now, but I have to say it again — my prediction is that SIBO diagnoses are only going to rise.
With the rise in diagnosis, two main problems will remain:
- There will be a high percentage of people who will relapse.
- Of those who do or don’t relapse, they will not know how to heal, other than to take a course of Rifaximin and/or Neomycin and call it a day. (This, of course, will typically lead back to #1, and the cycle will continue.)
And why is this whole SIBO issue such a big deal? (Enter sarcasm) I mean, it’s not even a digestive disease. It’s “just” an overgrowth, right?
Know this….90% of nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. When SIBO is present, it affects every last thing about you. The signs and symptoms of SIBO can translate in harsh ways for the everyday life.
Why Does SIBO Relapse
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My SIBO testing results are in and in my post, “Can you heal your gut on a Vegetarian diet” I told you that the results showed the SIBO has relapsed.
(Steps on soap box.) I have to make a side note to interject because I think this is an important point for those of you who have yet to do a SIBO test (but suspect it). Last fall when I went to the ER after my race, I was told I should consider getting scoped almost immediately to see what might be going on. I had a consult with the GI doctor who was going to perform the endoscopy and colonoscopy. During the consult, I told him about my SIBO status. He laughed, and then replied, “You don’t have SIBO. If you had SIBO, you would be losing weight quickly and very frail.” I was livid. In fact, I cancelled my colonoscopy and endoscopy with him almost immediately after. Why would I want a one-sided doctor working for me? Yes, that’s what they do – they work FOR us, and I think it’s very important and critical to remember that when a doctor tries to brush any diagnosed medical condition aside. (Steps down from soap box.)
I had one main question for Dr. Schweig on Thursday and that was, “Why does SIBO relapse?” And more importantly, “Why do I keep on relapsing?”
That’s a great question. And it’s the hardest one to answer.
But he didn’t stop there. We discussed the many reasons why I might be relapsing, and my favorite part was when he told me, “You have relapsed so many times that I know it’s nothing you are or are not doing. It’s not your fault.”
Here’s the deal, barely anyone gets through SIBO without relapsing, but most people don’t relapse this many times. The difference is why SIBO was present to begin with. Sometimes it’s just something mild, and in those cases, I believe you relapse a time or two and if you do all the right things from a diet and lifestyle, medication and supplementation standpoint, you are able to fully heal and move on with your life. (These things are all in my e-book, in case you’ve just been diagnosed with SIBO for the first time or think you might have it.)
But for me, and according to Dr. Schweig, there must be something underlying that is keeping the SIBO around. Everyone is different, but here are the two main things he thinks could be my underlying conditions:
- Lyme Disease
And here are the additional tests (all via blood) I’ll be doing:
- HNK1 (CD57)
- Bartonella Antibody Profile
- Lyme Disease AB, Total and IgM, w/ Reflex to Western Blot
- C6 Borrelia burgdorferi w/Reflex to Western Blot
- VCS Test
- Shoemaker VCS Test (this is actually a vision one done at home)
What Do You Do When SIBO Keeps Relapsing?
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So, then, what do you do when SIBO keeps relapsing?
The answer is two fold and it includes one part simple, and the other part simple, but not easy.
- The simple part is that you make sure you have a doctor as good as Dr. Schweig to keep seeking answers with further testing.
- The simple, but not easy, part is that you re-evaluate prior SIBO protocols and adjust, if need be.
For me, the antibiotics are staying the same as the last round. I’ll be on Rifaximin for 4 weeks, and Neomycin for 2 weeks (the first two weeks of Rifaximin). That combination has always cleared the current “ickies” I have going on in my small intestine, and after the course, I have always felt incredible.
Right now, that relief will be lovely.
But we are doing something different with diet this time.
Their ideas around SIBO during the course of the antibiotic(s) have changed from a diet standpoint. I’m still not sure if I fully agree, but I am going to give it a shot.
Wondering what it is? There isn’t even much information out there about it, but I’m going to share it with you this week. (And by the way, the answer is no, no it’s not the Elemental Diet. I’m never doing that, just so we are clear.)
Stay tuned or join my e-newsletter (right sidebar) so you don’t miss it.
p.s. I listened to a great podcast this past weekend with Chris Kresser and Michael Ruscio on the gut. If you have some time, I think you’ll enjoy listening, too. Grab it HERE. My e-book falls in line with both of them.
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