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Running on Empty? Help for SIBO-D

Barbara was very very sick. She was having bad diarrhea 10-15 times per day. She was feeling wiped out and isolated as she was too sick to go out. Working was nearly impossible as she could barely concentrate due to severe brain fog not to mention the multiple trips to the bathroom.  She had already taken 2 rounds of antibiotics with no change and this constant chronic diarrhea had been going on for months. She had already seen her doctor multiple times and there had been no change in her health , which was really sad because she actually liked her doctor. She was also suffering from intense bloating which made her look 6 months pregnant. “It feels like something is alive in there!” she told me as she cried in my office.

Chronic diarrhea is almost always caused by either an infectious agent, a chemical agent (chemotherapy)  or a reaction to foods. Her doctor had taken a stool sample but I thought that perhaps the test was not sensitive enough to detect the cause of her problem so I ordered another one from a reputable Functional Medicine Lab. With this particular test I would get a full genetic reading on Barbara’s microbiome (gut bacterial flora) as well as detecting any   fungal or parasitic infections. I also decided to run a SIBO breath test as well as a Food Allergy test, my usual testing trifecta. Before the test results were back, which would take weeks, I had her eliminate all grains and processed foods to see if that would offer temporary relief.

There are several possible causes for the chronic diarrhea. Crohn’s Disease, and autoimmune disorder of the GI tract may be a culprit, as well as untreated Celiac Disease. As well as a bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection.  She had never been tested for any of the autoimmune causes and had been actively consuming gluten so we decided to go ahead and test for Celiac disease too. Often certain foods are a major trigger.

While we were waiting for the test results she was finding some relief with the Paleo/GAPS diet. The bone broth was soothing and allowed Barbara to get some nutritionally dense and beneficial for gut healing food into her system. Her bowel frequency diminished and her stools began to be a bit more formed. She was thrilled!

Meanwhile Barbara’s SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) breath test came back positive. These tests measure Hydrogen produced by the bacteria as well as methane. Her Hydrogen levels were off the chart!   I then knew that we were dealing with a bacterial  overgrowth situation. We started her on a good protocol based upon the stool sample test results and her improvement was marked.

With SIBO-D the purpose of the initial phase of the protocol is to kill off the offending organism – whether it is a bacteria, fungus or parasite. This can take several weeks with an herbal protocol. Usually the patient notices improvement before that phase is complete. But it is very important not to stop there!  The second and third phases have to do with regulating the excessive motility and peristalsis of the gut as well as healing the nerves so that the movement of the colon is down and out through the rectum and anus and not “backwashing” up into the small intestine. When bacterial overgrowth occurs in the small intestine, you often get gas, bloating, fatigue, brain fog, and it can also exacerbate inflammation in the joints as well as other areas of the body.

Barbara found amazing relief with the protocol. The entire active phase of the protocol took about 6 months, even though she felt better within days. She is now on the maintenance part of the protocol where she eats a very low carb paleo and FODMAPS diet and uses specific herbs as needed.

If you have been suffering from chronic diarrhea or loose stools along with bloating and brain fog and have not yet found relief, and if you are interested in working with me one on one, I offer a FREE 15 minute phone consult to see if we are a good fit for each other. You can schedule that by calling my office M-F 8:30-5 Mountain Time at (303) 443-2206 or you can also schedule online at your convenience by clicking this link

Be well and I look forward to connecting with you!


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