Do you look like your expecting a baby after a meal?
Is your belly distended by evening?
It’s normal to feel full after a big meal but if you feel like someone blew you up with an air compressor after your meals you may be dealing with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO. Feeling overly bloated and fatigued after a meal could be a sign your feeding the bad bacteria in your gut. Certain carbohydrates we consume are food for the bad bacteria, causing excess gas to be produced. This gas which can be either hydrogen or methane depending on the bacteria, can cause severe diarrhea or constipation, cramping, anxiety, brain fog and over all IBS symptoms.
Here are some main signs of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth:
- Heart Burn
- Brain Fog
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- Food Sensitivities
- Anemia and low B12
- Autoimmune Disorders
It is estimated that nearly 84% of people with IBS have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. (1)
So how do we stop this cycle of eating and bloating, eating and bloating? Eliminating the foods that the bacteria thrive on is the best start. If the bacteria can’t eat, they can’t produce gasses. Following a Fodmap diet, which will remove any carbs the bacteria can eat will lead to a huge decrease in symptoms for most people. The Fodmap diet site also has a great app you can put right on your phone which can indicate a safe (green) food or an unsafe (red) food.
Another great way to reduce bloating is to take Digestive Enzymes right before a meal. Many people’s gut is damaged due to unhealthy habits and they have trouble digesting their food, such as people with lactose intolerance have trouble digesting dairy. It’s quite common for people to struggle digesting fats, sugars and certain carbs as well. Simply adding in a digestive enzyme can ease the stress of digesting food and make it easily absorbable for your gut. Digestive enzymes also help support low bile production and low stomach acid, both lead to an over production of bad gut bacteria.
If you believe your dealing with a severe case of SIBO and have weight loss or auto immune diseases, severe diarrhea or constipation, SIBO is best treated under the care of a physician where you can get a proper diagnosis, detailed testing of bacteria and proper medications. SIBO can cause major malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies if left untreated.
Dealing with general symptoms and bloating can be done at home for a more natural approach. Again the first priority is eliminating the food source for the bacteria. The Fodmap diet eliminate those foods and it’s a great place to start!
Adding in some anti-bacterial herbs to help kill of those unwanted bacteria is a great addition to the Fodmap diet.
Oil of Oregano in capsule form is a very strong anti-biotic but is only recommended for a short amount of time. It has the power to truly wipe out all gut bacteria which isn’t what we are going for. Use with caution.
Olive Leaf is a great choice for an antibiotic and it also kills candida. It has some benefits also such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s one of my favorite choices!
Caprylic Acid has many antibiotic and anti-fungal properties and is great for brain health. Its naturally found in coconut oil in small amounts.
Cat’s Claw or Una de Gato is another great antibiotic and also helps get rid of parasites. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and many people testify it helps with arthritis as well.
All of these items I have used personally and recommend to decrease bloating and symptoms. Supporting your gut takes time and effort and can not be done overnight. It’s done with one healthy choice at a time, listening to your body and research.