Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Improving Your Overall Health
Your body isn't just a bunch of individual cells or organs, connected with each other but working independently. One of the key tenets of naturopathic medicine is understanding that the body operates as a whole. Changes in one system, one organ, or even one cell can potentially cause changes throughout the entire body. Every part of your body is not only interconnected, it is working together and is informed and influenced by all the other parts, constantly.
In fact, your body isn't just your body. In addition to all of your cells and organs working together and influencing each other, humans and other larger organisms depend on the rich world of microscopic life to survive. Your body is home to billions if not trillions of bacteria, many of which actually promote good health and relatively few of which can become harmful. These bacteria live on your skin, in your urinary tract , and perhaps most importantly in your gut.
The bacterial colonies that live inside your intestines are essential to your nutrition. They help break down the food you eat so your body can absorb the nutrients it needs, and having a well-balanced gut biome can also protect against immune system problems like autoimmune disorders, chronic infections and allergies . Re-establishing and re-balancing the right bacterial colonies in your intestines can be key to maintaining overall health and preventing against these immune system problem. This is why probiotic supplements and fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut are often recommended for people experiencing digestive problem.
Because when things get out of balance, it can cause serious problems.
When Bacteria Grow Too Far
For decades, physicians have known of a condition called small intestine bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. As the name implies, this disorder is characterized by having too much bacteria in your small intestine, which is where the majority of your digestion and nutrient absorption takes place. Having the right kind and amount of bacteria in your small intestine makes your digestive system work the way it should; having too many bacteria can cause diarrhea, malnutrition, weight loss, and other associated problems such as dehydration, fatigue, and lack of focus.
A preliminary diagnosis of SIBO might be established simply by discussing your symptoms with your doctor, including what you're experiencing, when your symptoms started, and specifics about those symptoms. There are also several breath tests that can be used to estimate bacterial levels in your small intestine, which can give accurate estimations of the bacteria levels in your small intestine.
Serious, ongoing digestive symptoms (like Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS and more) can often be solved by addressing the underlying bacterial overgrowth. This might include treatment with antibiotics, and will also likely include dietary changes that can help you maintain a healthy guy and the right kind—and right amount—of bacteria in your intestines.
Fixing your intestinal biome can lead to rapid improvements in your overall health. You might find yourself with more energy, less bloating, and other positive changes in association with better nutritional state . You might also be preventing more serious problems down the line. Addressing a potential case of your digestive issues (i.e. SIBO) is definitely worth your while.
If you've been experiencing symptoms that may point to SIBO, please schedule an appointment today so we can start putting you body back in balance!