What caused your SIBO in the first place? That is the question we’d all like to know because getting to the root of it will help you to make massive changes to how you are feeling. Following a SIBO diet and taking anti-microbials is only the first step to feeling better. If you want to see lasting change, uncovering how you ended up here in the first place is key.
What causes SIBO?
Experts list abdominal surgery, parasite infections, chronic inflammation, scar tissue, slow gut motility and antibiotic use as a few common causes of our gut being led astray. How do you know where it began for you? In my own personal case, it’s taken me a couple of years to uncover. I had several courses of antibiotics over a short period of time and immediately thought that must have been the culprit. However, over time and digging a bit deeper I discovered that I had signs of slow gut motility. Which came first? Which was really to blame? Could it be a bit of everything? Probably?
I knew I had low stomach acid. This is one of the first tests I had taken several years ago to try to understand my poor digestion. A simple at home experiment of drinking bi-carb soda and counting my resultant burps was how we detected this. I added apple cider vinegar to some water before brekkie and dinner and it helped tremendously but there was still bloating and discomfort. Over time, I removed any drinks from meals – I would stop 30 minutes before and then wait to drink 60-90 minutes after a meal. This was a huge help as well, but still I had issues.
I finally tested for SIBO – 2 years later – and it all made sense. The little changes I made had an effect but I had a bigger problem underlying it all. Thus began my SIBO treatment and journey. Aside from the SIBO Bi-phasic diet and anti-microbials if you have SIBO and think there’s a motility issue, here’s what’s made a huge difference for me:
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – a capful in water twice daily to increase stomach acid.
- Taking digestive enzymes before meals.
- Do not drink liquids close to meal time as they dilute the acid you do have.
- Portion size is important. It’s annoying but stick to what you’re allowed i.e. ½ cup rice, ½ cup canned lentils, etc. This is HUGE and will make a difference.
- Meal Spacing – Wait 4-5 hours in between meals. You will not starve and, for people like us, snacking is poison. Do it and you will thank me. This time allows your slow digestive system to process what it has inside before overloading it with more work. This is also why it is key to eat wisely – meals that will sustain you for the long haul. Bulk with rice, healthy fats and proteins.
- Exercise – movement of your entire body helps your digestive system work. Go for a walk, do some yoga, cycle, run or whatever you enjoy. Just keep moving.
- Abdominal massage – ok, so for full disclosure, I am not religious with this one, but do believe it bears mentioning. Massaging and retraining the ileocecal valve to help it to function properly has been shown to help people suffering with SIBO. Here’s a how to from Dr Hagmeyer.
- Meditate – if you feel over stressed and anxious it affects your digestion, so take a break even for 5 minutes a day.
- Sleep – We all know that getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night is good for us as we hear it all the time. I know that when I’ve had a good night’s rest I don’t have sugar cravings, I am more energised, peaceful, less hungry, less bloated and choose my foods wisely. Make sleep a priority.