Is there a home remedy for SIBO? Well, there are definitely steps you can start taking today.
Today’s guest, Heather Ann Pettit is a board-certified holistic practitioner who specializes in empowering women to not feel defeated by their diagnosis.
She builds personalized nutritional plans, habit road maps, and lifestyle plans for her clients, through both her online presence and virtual practice.
We are so excited to have Heather Ann on the show today to tell us all about her SIBO experience and recovery.
Home Remedy for SIBO (How Heather Ann Pettit Tackled Her SIBO)
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- Follow Heather Ann on Instagram
- Check out Heather Ann’s website
- A Gutsy Girl’s journal
- Reasonable SIBO
- OSHI Health; episode 72
- Plant Power; episode 8 with Dr. B
Don’t Miss These Thoughts
- Who is Heather Ann Pettit
- What were Heather’s personal SIBO symptoms, did she find her root cause, and what treatment methods did she use.
- What does courageously curious mean to Heather?
- Heather Ann believes in controlling the controllable; what does that mean?
- She also believes that routine is the path to routine; what does that mean?
- What diet has worked best for Heather Ann?
Our mountains become our mission and our pain reveals our purpose.Heather Ann Pettit
The SIBO Struggle
Heather Ann was initially diagnosed with SIBO – small intestine bacterial overgrowth – two years after connecting with a functional practitioner.
If you are not familiar with the term SIBO, it refers to an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine. These excess bacteria cause more gas to be produced in the gut, which can result in extremely unpleasant symptoms.
SIBO often takes a while to detect, just as in Heather Ann’s case.
Most of Heather Ann’s own SIBO symptoms mimic the common ones associated with the diagnosis:
- endless fatigue regardless of sleep
- daily diarrhea (can also manifest in form of constipation)
- stomach pain
- brittle nails and hair
- joint aches
- lack of motivation
- acne and breakouts
- abdominal pain
- sugar cravings
- shifts in mood
As you can see, SIBO takes a negative toll on your overall health.
It impacts everything from your mood to neurological symptoms and pain. These are more than just uncomfortable symptoms, they point to an underlying condition that CAN be treated.
All disease begins in the gut
Root cause of SIBO
SIBO in itself is not a root cause, but rather a manifestation of some sort of dysfunction in the body.
In order to fully heal SIBO you have to uncover the root cause.
Heather Ann takes us through some of her own possible root causes that are extremely common in the Gutsy community:
C-section delivered babies have altered gut microbiomes resulting from their birth method.
They have a higher chance of developing a chronic condition or inflammatory diseases later in life.
Oftentimes these babies also have a weaker immune system.
Antibiotics are helpful every once in a while, but when used too frequently the use of antibiotics can deplete the gut microbiome of good bacteria.
Remember, antibiotics can not distinguish between good and bad bacteria, they attack EVERYTHING.
This introduces potential pathogens and harmful bacteria into the gut flora.
Most people recover from food poisoning, but in an individual who already deals with other risk factors, it can turn into a long-term issue.
Stress is a common underlying cause that puts the body in constant fight or flight mode, which reduces the ability to properly digest food.
In high stress states, the body does not produce the proper hunger hormones or stomach acid to absorb nutrients.
Stress also has been shown to increase inflammation across the body, which can cause lots of issues down the line.
Mold is another root cause that many of us don’t actually think about.
Having a high level of mold in the body reduces the ability to properly regulate immune function. This can send the immune system into constant attack, leading to increased inflammation.
Faulty migrating motor complex
The MMC is the wave-like motion that “cleans” the intestines in between eating times.
For most people with SIBO the MMC is faulty in some way and does not push food or debris through the digestive tract. This results in a build-up of gut bacteria over time.
Although it was not mentioned in the podcast, I did want to throw out a bit of information about getting tested for SIBO.
If you suspect you have SIBO, the first step is to mention it to your healthcare provider.
You should advocate for a SIBO test that includes one of the following options.
- hydrogen breath test
- lactulose breath testing
Both of these options are a great way to test the amount of gas that your gut produces, which often is directly linked to SIBO.
If you have high levels of hydrogen gas produced, you have hydrogen-dominant SIBO, whereas if you have high amounts of methane, you may have methane-dominant SIBO.
Heather Ann went through several rounds of different treatments to ultimately tackle her SIBO, but it was a long process.
Some of her treatments included:
The use of herbal supplements such as antimicrobials and antifungals to address dysbiosis in the gut.
More natural remedies like this can take a while (upwards of 6 months), but are proven to be just as, if not more, effective than traditional antibiotics.
Short-term elimination diets
Heather Ann used the low-fodmap diet initially to figure out what some of her food triggers were. You could also opt for the anti-inflammatory diet or elimination diet to calm down the gut temporarily.
Making dietary changes is difficult, but it really can help calm down some of the symptoms of SIBO.
If your gut is constantly inflamed due to your food sources, you may consider trying one of these for a short period of time.
Just remember that this is not a long term strategy.
Some people also use antibiotics to treat SIBO, which is another great alternative.
It usually does work faster, but it results in relapse more often than herbals.
These do sometimes come with some side effects, but they are usually fairly minimal and not a concern.
Heather Ann’s Guide to Healing
Heather Ann’s philosophy to healing centers on the idea of being courageously curious and acting as your own advocate for healing.
Since we only have one life and one body, it is within OUR own power to live the best that we possible can. For Heather, this meant doing the simple daily activities that promote healing and wellness.
Her six steps to being courageously curious start with:
Tracking and journaling
This can be as simple as grabbing a blank journal and jotting down notes based on your symptoms. Journaling can be anything from water intake to specific food logs.
Here are some ideas to start with:
- fasted time (Heather Ann aims for 12-14 hours before dinner and breakfast)
- wake and sleep time
- mood and symptoms within 2 hours of eating
- bowel movements
- water intake
- plant count (amount of different plants per week)
This journaling process can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be. If you need a place to start check out my own journal HERE.
Because we talk about the journal in depth in this episode, feel free to use code PODCAST at checkout to save 20% off either/both the physical journal or instant PDF download.
Connect with functional medicine doctor for discussing and root issues based on symptoms
This step closely ties in with journaling, as the more you record your symptoms, the more information the functional practitioner will have to go on.
Your “daily habits reveal clues to overall healing,” so make sure to share these with your practitioner.
Control the controllable with diagnosis
This centers around doing what YOU can do while trying to heal your body.
To figure this out Heather Ann asks herself the question, “what can I do today that will positively impact my healing?”
Here are some of her suggestions:
- walks or other forms of low impact exercise
- increasing water intake
- prioritizing low-inflammation foods
- breath work
- counting blessings and practicing gratitude
- prioritizing sleep
All of these little habits become stepping stones to a life fully healed. By engaging in these, you support your body’s ability and desire to feel better.
We have to be bigger than our problem.
Routine is the path to routine
This is an expansion of controlling the controllables, but rather making these things cornerstones of your day.
By establishing these practices as routine, you will find yourself moving forward with your healing journey.
Understand the power of plants and lifestyle action
This one is my personal favorite, as I often forget just how healing plants can actually be.
These compounds are chalk full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help nourish our cells and prep them for recovery.
Not a me thing but a we thing
The last step is ensuring that you have a TEAM that can devise the best treatment plan for you.
While it can be tempting to work alone, you really do need trained practitioners to advise you through this healing journey.
Plants and Treatment of SIBO
Heather Ann is a HUGE proponent of all things plants, and for good reason.
The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical content of plants help support healthy gut microbiome and encourage diversity within the gut.
I don’t count calories, I could plants.
Heather Ann focuses her attention to including a diversity of color, flavor, and texture of plants for each of her meals.
Her aim is to get at least 30 different types of plants on her plate throughout the week to optimize the growth of different bacterial species within her GI tract.
This also prevents vitamin deficiencies and supports digestive health as a whole.
For most SIBO patients, eating a diversity of different plants can sometimes be scary and overwhelming. Remind yourself that you are not allergic to this food, your body is just sensitive to the amount you can have.
Try adding in some more diversity at lower amounts and note how your body response. Even a little bit goes a long way!
For more information on the power of plants check out THIS podcast episode with Dr. B.
More from A Gutsy Girl
Want to learn even more about the gut and ways to heal it?
The best way to learn all the secrets is via my signature book, A Gutsy Girl’s Bible: a 21-day approach to healing the gut. Grab your copy on Amazon HERE.
- Welcome to A Gutsy Girl Podcast
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- Free resource: The Master Gutsy Spreadsheet
- Rated-G Email Club
We are going to wrap this up with Heather Ann’s 3 convictions for gut-healing.
- Count plant over calories
- Supporting your gut supports your life
- A little plant fiber goes a long way
As always, a huge goal for this show is to connect with even more people. Feel free to send an email to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear questions, comments, show ideas, etc.
Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
Bio: Heather Ann Pettit
Heather Ann Pettit is a Board Certified Holistic Practitioner, SIBO warrior and busy wife and mom of 3 from Cleveland, Ohio.
Within her virtual practice, Heather Ann walks alongside her clients guiding them through current symptoms and/or diagnosis from their primary care doctor and develops a personalized nutritional recommendation, lifestyle and habit roadmap in the pursuit of resolving ongoing symptoms one small step at a time.
From her own personal journey through SIBO to her fascination with the power plants have on the health of the gut microbiome, Heather Ann is continually sharing her knowledge online while always being the student in on-going research and education so she can be the best fit for her clients’ needs and a part of their total health team.
Heather Ann is dedicated to empowering women to not feel defeated from their diagnosis, as she was once in their shoes. She radiates on authenticity through active listening and meeting her clients where they are and believes that not one gut microbiome is the same. Therefore every session is uniquely tailored to her client’s needs.
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You will heal. I will help.