Are you someone who knows the location of every clean bathroom in town and you aren’t potty-training a toddler? Is your life compromised due to bowel unpredictability? Have you been mistaken as a pregnant woman due to bloating? Yes, we have had patients in our office who had these complaints. Did you know that IBS is a symptom much like a fever is a sign of an infection? Most patients with severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome have seen a gastroenterologist and had the routine testing (colonoscopy.) Since there was no evidence of colitis or other medical diseases, they are ‘diagnosed’ with IBS. That is similar to going to your physician when you are sick and being diagnosed with fever! The traditional medical approach just doesn’t adequately address IBS.
Although there is not one universal cause of IBS, recent studies show that over 50% of patients diagnosed with IBS actually have small intestine bowel overgrowth aka SIBO.
When the colonoscopy is done, the last 6-8 feet of bowel is examined for visually apparent issues. If you were lucky enough to also have an EGD (esophagus and stomach scope), they looked into the first 2 inches of the small intestine. That leaves 22 feet of small bowel that was not inspected! To overstate the obvious, bacteria are also not visible during these procedures.
Our approach at Radiantly Healthy MD is to address the underlying cause of your IBS. Under the direction of our board-certified physician, Rebecca Hunton, MD, we order comprehensive stool testing to evaluate the bacteria that are present in your gut. Based upon those results, our team will develop a personalized plan for rebalancing your microbiome and healing your IBS. If you are suffering from IBS, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
Signs that SIBO may be a cause of your IBS:
- Constipation worsens with typical dietary interventions like fiber
- Antibiotics can improve your symptoms
- Probiotics can increase the gas and bloating, especially if they contain prebiotics and/or multiple strains
- Certain medications (i.e. pain, reflux) significantly worsen your symptoms.
- Your symptoms significantly worsen with certain foods
Symptoms of SIBO
- Abdominal gas, bloating and distension
- Constipation and/or diarrhea and/or both!
- Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the left upper quadrant.
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Excessive belching and passing gas (aka airborne toxic events!)
Does SIBO lead to leaky gut?
SIBO can be a contributing factor to a leaky gut. SIBO typically causes local GI symptoms, but if this progresses it can cause systemic complaints that affect the neuro/immune system. Leaky gut is a more serious situation and often involves more than one issue. Only about half of the patients with SIBO also have leaky gut.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- Asthma, especially new onset in an adult
- Worsening allergies including seasonal and food sensitivities
- Skin changes including rashes, eczema, rosacea, and acne
- Cognitive symptoms, especially after meals
- Any autoimmune disease
- Musculoskeletal issues like arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Chronic headaches or migraines
Causes of SIBO
- Low stomach acid, often as a side effect of medications
- Insufficient digestive enzymes
- Impaired bowel motility
- Surgical bowel resection or bariatric surgery
- Food poisoning (Post-infectious IBS)
- Any disease that slows motility (diabetes, hypothyroid)
- Dietary choices that nourish the overgrown bacteria
If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, we here at Radiantly Healthy can help. Reach out to us to learn more about testing and comprehensive treatments for improved overall digestive health. Contact us today and schedule your consultation!