A Functional Medicine Approach to SIBO
While the colon contains a diverse eco-system consisting of (bacteria, fungi, and parasites), the small intestine is normally very sparse in comparison.With SIBO, we see an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine where they are not usually present to such a high degree. in comparison to the colon. The bacteria are then able to act on undigested, fermentable carbohydrates, producing symptoms such as gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. Patients with SIBO can also suffer from weight loss and malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, skin issues and osteoporosis amongst other issues when dealing with this condition.
The cause of SIBO is multifactorial and it normally affects more than one of the protective mechanisms we have in the gut. These include a change in the acidity of the gut where the PH changes to make it less acidic making it easier for the bacteria to grow, a dysregulation of the continuous waves of bowel wall muscular function, called the migrating motor complex, from the stomach to its final destination in the colon. A change to the immunoglobulins in the intestinal fluid, and a malfunctioning ileocecal valve that normally allows the flow of contents into the large bowel but then prevents it from re-entering the small bowel. Physical issues in the gut such as Crohn’s and Diverticulitis which can cause an abnormal build-up of bacteria in the small intestines. There are also medications that disrupt our microbiome which include PPI, antibiotics and steroids,
SIBO Risk Factors
Common SIBO Symptoms
In addition to SIBO testing, we generally look to test the large bowel (through microbiome testing in the form of a stool test) to see if there are any imbalances, as SIBO is generally an issue with the broader eco-system rather than just the small bowel.. With SIBO treatment, the overall goal is to reduce bacteria in the small intestine and prevent relapse by addressing the underlying causes that led to SIBO. Our approach is to take a holistic approach that can include a number of interventions.
At the London Centre for functional Medicine, we use an approach that incorporates nutrition and diet, herbal antibiotics and nutritional supplements, to ensure we get rid of the infection and prevent it from returning.
Our approach includes
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