SIBO, SIFO, and Candida. How are they similar? Or what differentiates them? Help is on the way.

SIBO SIFO Candida Overgrowth definitions A Gutsy Girl gut healing #guthealing #SIBO #SIFO #candida #guthealing

First, a quick definition for each:

SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

SIFO: Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth

Candida Overgrowth: Candida is a genus of yeasts that is typically found in small amounts in the mouth and intestines and on the skin. When it grows uncontrollably, it’s known as a Candida Overgrowth and is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans.

SIBO, SIFO, and Candida Overgrowth

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SIBO, SIFO, and Candida Overgrowth A Gutsy Girl gut healing #guthealing #SIBO #SIFO #candida

Still with me? Let’s break each one down.


Because I’m on a mission to massively research and produce all the content for you, I’m not going to beat this one over the head because I’ve already given you the goods. Learn:

  1. Reasonable SIBO
  2. SIBO Signs and Symptoms
  3. How to Take the SIBO Breath Test
  4. How I Healed SIBO Long Term
  5. The Low FODMAP Diet
  6. And even more SIBO (seriously)


SIFO is very similar to SIBO; the difference is a bacteria vs. yeast.

As JJ Virgin simply states it, “SIBO features a variety of bacteria, while the most common culprit with SIFO is candida yeast.”

SIFO signs and symptoms, according to JJ Virgin, are the same as those for SIBO. In fact, when studies on the two are done, the terms are used almost interchangeably SIBO/SIFO.

However, I don’t believe they are truly interchangeable terms (see below).

Unlike SIBO, there is no SIFO breath test (or test at all) currently.

Treating SIFO includes any or all of the following: berberine, oregano oil, probiotics, Fluconazole, Nystatin, SCD, Low FODMAP Diet, and/or the Elemental Diet.

Dr. Satish Rao states, “The problem of SIBO and SIFO is unfortunately man-made. I have been practicing G.I. for 25 to 30 years, and I don’t believe I’ve seen that many patients with these kinds of symptoms for a long time.”

In other words, modern diet and lifestyle have lead to the eruption of SIBO and SIFO.

SIBO SIFO quote A Gutsy Girl gut healing #guthealing #SIBO #SIFO #candida #guthealing

Candida Overgrowth

The problem with having too much yeast is that it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut

According to Dr. Amy Myers, here are the top 6 causes of a candida overgrowth:

  1. High carb diets (because they fuel the overgrowth)
  2. Excessive alcohol consumption (which weakens the immune system)
  3. Fermented foods (which feed active Candida infections)
  4. Medications (provide the perfect environment for Candida to flourish)
  5. Chronic stress (impairs the immune system)
  6. Autoimmune diseases (which are treated with immunosuppressants that reduce the body’s ability to fight infections)

Top 6 Causes of a Candida Overgrowth #candida #candidadiet #guthealth #guthealing

Candida Signs and Symptoms

Candida overgrowth signs and symptoms include:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
  • Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  • Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
  • Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

Testing for a Candida overgrowth is done via IgG, IgA and IgM Candida Antibodies, Complete Blood Count (CBC), stool testing, and/or a Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test.

Treating a Candida overgrowth includes:

  1. Cutting sugar. According to Dr. Josh Axe, “Not only does Candida thrive on sugar, but it also needs an acidic environment to survive.”
  2. Add in Candida fighters like garlic, turmeric, and coconut oil.
  3. Get in a high-quality probiotic.
  4. Consider a Candida cleanse to jump start the healing efforts.
  5. Diet to exclude: high-sugar fruits, gluten, deli meats and farm-raised fish, refined oils and fats, condiments, certain dairy products, sugar and artificial sweeteners, nuts and seeds that are higher in mold (peanut, cashew, pecan, pistachio), caffeine, alcohol, sugary beverages, and nitrates plus sulfites.
  6. Using antifungal botanicals like cat’s claw, caprylic acid, berberine, and more.

Sources: HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Are SIFO and a Candida overgrowth the same things?

From the research I’ve done, SIFO and a Candida overgrowth can be the same thing, but they aren’t always.

SIFO is a fungal overgrowth. Candida is a type of fungus. So, sometimes (maybe even oftentimes), SIFO is caused by Candida.

However, it might also not be because there are several types of fungi found in the gastrointestinal tract. They include:

  1. Candida
  2. Galactomyces
  3. Geotrichum
  4. Debaryomyces
  5. Saprochaete
  6. Cladosporium
  7. Saccharomyces
  8. Trichosporon
  9. Penicillium
  10. Aspergillus
  11. Cryptococcus
  12. Malassezia

Are SIFO and a Candida overgrowth the same things #guthealth #sifo #candidaovergrowth

My Thoughts on SIBO, SIFO, and Candida Overgrowth

Because all three are very similar in the way they show up symptom-wise, if I didn’t know which I had, here are the exact steps I’d take:

  1. First, I would get tested for both SIBO and a Candida overgrowth.
  2. Then, if one or both of those are positive, begin a treatment protocol while also investigating other root causes to it. Remember, just because you treat them doesn’t mean they will be gone forever if you haven’t addressed why they were there in the first place.
  3. If you aren’t responding to the SIBO and/or Candida treatments, consider SIFO as your culprit. 
  4. If you test negative for both SIBO and a Candida overgrowth, also consider SIFO.

It’s all so complicated, right? 

There are so many terms, diagnostic tools, and then ways to approach healing the gut.

My best piece of advice is always three-fold:

  1. Test, test, test vs. guess, guess, guess.
  2. Start where you are, do what you can.
  3. No one knows your body better than you. Do what is right for you.

Questions? Ask away!

And p.s. Know someone who could benefit from the information on A Gutsy Girl? Share this post on Facebook today or forward them the main link –

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. 7 Root Causes of IBS
  2. Chronic Illness Thoughts
  3. A Gutsy Girl’s Bible


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  1. Do you have more info on hydrogen sulfide SIBO? I tested positive for candida on an advanced stool test and negative for SIBO, but I get horrible bloating (where I look like I’m 9 months pregnant after eating & get horrible anxiety/panic attacks) and my functional doctor thinks I may have hydrogen sulfide sibo. How can we find out for forsure and how do you treat this type of sibo?

    1. Sounds a lot like histamine issues. I hadfull blown panic attacks from sleep. Could not feel my body and thought I was choking every time. Resolved as I worked on diet, stress, nature, yoga, meditate, etc.

  2. Hi! I suffer from malassezia folliculitis on my back and chest and i also recently had a fungal ear infection that the dr. thought was candida. So im pretty sure i have a candida overgrowth or SIFO. I have many of the symptoms. I’ve started taking Thorne Sf722 but it gives me the most foul smelling gas. Is this normal? Does that mean it’s working? Thanks for your help! (I know for sure it is the undecenoic acid giving me the gas)

    1. I think I have this too. I had SIBO last year and “treated” it with help from my naturopathic doctor through diet and herb supplements.
      More recently I’ve had a yeast infection and have been noticing an increase of several small sores around my hairline (including my neck), eyebrows and nose. What is the Thorne Sf722? Has it helped? I think I could put up with the bad gas.

      Thank You,

  3. I have candida and I’ve been working with a functional doctor for a year without succeed. I think I might also have SIBO, but looks like she doesn’t get what it is. I took a test to check my microbiote from a stool sample and she gave me specific probiotics to adress the reesults. But I don’t think this is going to heal my permanent bloating.
    I would like to have the opinion of another practicioner but I don’t know where to go 🙁
    I’m from Spain

  4. Hello, I recently tested pretty positive for mycophenolic acid in my urine. This toxin is produced by a penicillum species. My ND said it’s tough to say where this fungi grows but I suspect its growing in my small intestine, thoughts? I tested positive for SIBO already and for candida albicans in the nose.

  5. I have Crohns and am on Imuran as maintenance drug. I am having a bad flare with a abscess in my intestines and also Candida overgrowth presenting as Thrush. I am one week into Cipro and Budesonide for the flare and Nystatin for Candida. I am on a liquid diet of homemade beef bone broth, water and herbal teas. I take Vital Proteins Collagen (blue label) and Ortho Molecular Ortho Biotic probiotic and just added SBI Protect Powder. Do you suggest any other supplement for the Candida? I have been diagnosed for 25+ years and have managed the most harsh symptoms of Crohns but do have a SIBO every 7-9 months. Of course my GI only talks meds and Western Medicine. Never once has he mentioned leaky gut or a diet change. I have made huge changes on my own and had blood work done (not covered by my expensive insurance) for food sensitivity and that was a eye opener and very helpful but the more a person researches the more differing opinions you will find! Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for this website!

  6. So I got a stool test. I have a Dysbiotic Flora called Pichia Manshurica. Would that be SIFO? My blood test also said a reaction to Candida. I am taking some herbal things along with Nystatin for 4 months. Could you direct me to some good resources for food or books/recipes. Currently surviving on Peanut Quinoa Noodles.

    Everything makes me soooo bloated and nauseous. Normally fine eating beans and stuff, but not now! Afraid to widen my eating! Everyday I feel like puking, vagus nerve issue? Or ilicicial valve?

  7. What is the best way you could suggest to determine if you’ve got SIFO or Candida overgrowth? My naturopath believes I have some sort of SIFO but it could potentially be Candida. SIBO test came back negative. My main symptom is extreme severe bloating after every meal, with constant discomfort and gurgling noises. I have tried remedies to relieve my symptoms but nothing has worked. Could you suggest where I could go from here in terms of testing what I actually have and further possible treatments?

  8. Hi Sarah!
    What would you adress first, in case one has Candida and SIBO?
    The problem is that both at the same time is not possible. The SIBO diet is very low carb and ketones nourish Candida. On the other hand a diet with carbs (to avoid ketones) nourish the bacteria in the small intestines.
    Thanks, Nicole

    1. Hi Nicole! I’d start with whatever one you feel is keeping you most miserable. I have had to do this many times before. SIBO, low-functioning thyroid and “adrenal fatigue.” I chose to hyper-focus on the SIBO because I was so bloated and felt awful. I stayed that course. Ultimately, healing one helps heal the rest. Hope that helps! Xox

  9. Hi, I have a question please. I have SIBO with most probably SIFO. (Thats very hard to test). I started an Elemental Diet for 10 days according to the formula of Dr. Allison Siebecker. I made a lot of progress BUT it gets worse when I use a lot of Dextrose. So now I cut the dextrose and raised fats. It got so much better. Do you think I can add Berberine, Oregano Oil, Allicin and Artemisinin which I read are very effective antifungals. Some sources mention that you shouldnt get rid of alle the sugar while again others recommend to starve the SIFO. Do you think this can work?

  10. I did a GI maps test and it appears I have all 3 High Candida a small amount of Giardia Bacterial Overgrowth and Fungal Overgrowth what would you do to treat all? I have Adrenal Insufficiency Gluten and Dairy Intolerant Hypothyroid either sero negative Addison’s and or sero negative Hypothyroid disease.

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