Everything you need to know about SIBO.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet. This post, and anything else you find here is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. If you'd like to view my full disclosure & disclaimer, you can click here.


 
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Did you know that 70-80% of people who have been diagnosed with IBS actually have a condition called SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and they don't even know it? 

It can cause all of the symptoms of IBS: Constipation, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal distention, anxiety, weight gain or loss, and nutritional deficiencies, to name a few.

In 2016 after having my son, I contracted a digestive illness that nearly took my life. The unfortunate thing is that oftentimes when one thing becomes imbalanced in the digestive system, it creates a bit of a domino effect, leaving your guts in a knot with yeast, bacteria, hormones and even parasites running amok. The delicate balance of this diverse city that makes up our immune system and our microbiome (buzzword of the day!) is essential to our very survival...

So lean in, friends. Let me share as much as I possibly can about what this experience has taught me on both a personal and a professional level.

My hope is that this post can save you time, money and heartache as you embark on your own quest for answers. 

 
 

This photo was taken in March 2018 after one of the most intense SIBO flares I have ever experienced. It happened after performing the 3 Hour Lactulose Breath Test to detect SIBO (which can worsen the symptoms from it for a short period of time, by the way), and it left my abdomen so distended that I experienced what can only be described as complete physical agony for the 24 hours that followed.


And on a side note...

I have come a long way in healing my gut and discovering the cause of WHY I developed SIBO in the first place, and one of the biggest things that helped me to truly understand the condition, what it is, how to treat it, which practitioners to trust and refer to, and of course, how to find the ROOT CAUSE of why it happened in order to prevent relapse, was the IBS and SIBO SOS Summit. This incredible video series which is hosted by some of the top practitioners in conventional, natural and functional medicine is available for FREE from September 3-10, and I feel that with so many people's guts in a knot, I'd be doing a disservice to my community if I didn't share it with you all!

Click the image below to watch this awesome series completely for FREE, my friends! And If you know of anyone who has ever dealt with IBS, SIBO, bloating, parasites, leaky gut, or any other sort of digestive condition, please share this blog post with them so they can gain some free support from these amazing practitioners from September 3-10. You may very well change their lives in the same way this information has changed mine!

 
 

Ah, but I digress. 

So WTF is SIBO, anyway?

Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. Sounds kinda gross, doesn't it? 

Here's what I've come to understand about this condition:

SIBO isn't really an "overgrowth" at all. Oftentimes it is made up of the beneficial bacteria in our gut. You know, the same little fellas you find in that fancy bottle of probiotics you're taking. Your lactobacillus, your bifidobacterium, and so on. 

You see, we've got our small intestine which tends to be a pretty sterile place for the most part. This is the place in the gut where we ABSORB. It is where we take in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from our food.

Next, we have our large intestine. This is a place that is chock full of bacteria. Anywhere from 2-6 pounds of it, to be exact. And this bacteria is what makes up a massive part of our immune system.  NO BIGGIE, right?

In between the small and large intestine, there's also a little "door" called the "ileocecal valve," and sometimes, for a number of possible reasons, the bacteria in the large intestine can make their way through that little door and into the small intestine. 

So why is this an issue?

Well for starters, if we've got bacteria in the wrong place in our gut - Especially the place in our gut where the main job is absorption, it means the bacteria can EAT what our body needs before we have the opportunity to absorb it. This means we DO NOT take in as much in terms of vitamins, minerals and so on. 

The result? Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, despite eating healthy, buying organic, and all that jazz. Those little buggers are quite literally stealing your grocery bill! 

Oh, and since they are essentially eating our food before we have a chance to, they also poop out various forms of gas, which creates all kinds of fun symptoms like bloating, abdominal distention, diarrhea and constipation. Sounds a lot like that blanket diagnosis of IBS, doesn't it?

If you think about the term "Irritable Bowel Syndrome," with the word "syndrome" literally just meaning "a collection of symptoms, it's no surprise why so many folks who currently have SIBO are simply served up this blanket definition in it's place. But hang in there, my digestively-distressed reader, because SIBO is becoming much more well understood, and the the times, they are a changin'.

There's also a really teensy, single-celled layer of membrane between the small intestine and your bloodstream. Not a very thick layer of protection holding back anything potentially harmful from entering the blood, right? And SIBO often goes hand-in-hand with something called "intestinal permeability," AKA "leaky gut syndrome," which is when that single-cell membrane becomes damaged, thus letting all kinds of nasties all up in your blood. Bigger food particles, pathogens, YEP. You can see that things are starting to get pretty serious, right?

Far more serious that a little bloating now and then.

Because bigger food particles and proteins entering the bloodstream as a result of damage to the gut lining can cause an increase in food sensitivities, digestive distress, and yep - Even the development of life-long autoimmune conditions.

And my friends, that's when SIBO can begin to go from a collection of symptoms to a LIFELONG kind of thing. A proverbial "shit show," if you will (Pun most definitely intended). This is why it is imperative to address it, discover the root cause (meaning why it developed in the first place), so you can start working toward supporting your recovery. Which - BUCKLE UP - can take some time, especially if you're working with a practitioner who doesn't quite understand this stuff in depth. And the unfortunate truth is that many practitioners - Be it gastroenterologists, naturopaths, and family doctors alike - Simply don't understand this condition just yet.

But they will, because we now know that many people who were diagnosed with IBS actually have SIBO!

Ah, yes. Read on.


Symptoms & Associated Complications of SIBO

SIBO can create a variety of symptoms, and these symptoms can vary from person-to-person. 

Some of the more common symptoms (and complications that can arise as a result) include:

Constipation
Diarrhea
Cramping
Bloating & abdominal distention
Abdominal pain
Gas - Especially with a sulphur smell
Nausea
Malnutrition
Joint pain
Skin rashes
Anxiety/Depression
Anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Fat malabsorption (Difficulty in absorbing & digesting fats)
Kidney stones
Osteoporosis
Autoimmunity

 
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Types of SIBO

Depending on the type of bacteria in the gut, they may be producing different types of gas. (Remember how I mentioned that when they're in the wrong place in the gut, THEY eat what YOUR body wants to absorb? Well wouldn't you know that when they do this, they also poop out gas, hence why your belly likely gets bloated and distended from time to time with SIBO.

First, there is methane-dominant SIBO. These bacteria tend to be associated with symptoms of constipation. Usually, but not always.

Next, there is hydrogen-dominant SIBO. These guys tend to be more associated with diarrhea issues.

There is also a third type of SIBO that products hydrogen-sulfide gas. This type of SIBO is often associated with a very smelly, suphury, rotten-eggy smelling gas. Good times!
The other unfortunate truth about hydrogen-sulfide SIBO is that it is not detectable by the most common SIBO test. Research is on the cusp of having a test available for this, but in the meantime, this type is often treated based on symptoms alone. 

So the next question would be, "How the heck do I test for SIBO, anyway?"


How to Test for SIBO

There are a few different tests available on the market, but the test that generally seems to be the least invasive while providing the best result is called a 3 Hour Lactulose Breath Test. 

Here's what you can expect:

 
 

To produce a result on this type of test, typically what you do is follow a restricted diet for a certain amount of time before the test. I have faint memories of only consuming chicken and broth for 12-24 hours, then fasting overnight before starting the test. Gross! By eliminating carbohydrates completely for a period of time, essentially you are making the bacteria hungry. Then when you're ready to do the test, you'll need to drink a solution that includes a solution of liquid sugar (and a a little tip: If you're a nutrition nerd of holistic professional like myself, try not to read the ingredients list because this will make you ANGRY. Artificial colours, and chemicals galore. All of the things I don't want in my body in the form of a test that is supposed to diagnose the possibility of a medical condition! Ah, but again - I digress).

After avoiding carbohydrates and then fasting overnight, this sugar solution provides those hungry little buggies the perfect food to start a feeding frenzy, and for the following several hours, you'll breathe into little plastic tubes every 20-30 minutes, collecting breath samples as the glucose passes along your digestive tract. The test result will often show a spike in either hydrogen or methane (or both!) gases after a certain amount of time, thus indicating the possible presence of SIBO, and a rough idea of where in the intestine it may be.

This was an overly simplified description of the testing (there's more to know!), but it will provide you a general idea of what to expect. It's also important to note that, like myself, you may feel crappy after doing the test, because again - Fasting for so long and then drinking sugar means lots of gas can be produced by the bacteria. Lots of gas means a possible boost in symptoms.

But don't worry - Oftentimes these symptoms are short lived and can typically be managed.


I have SIBO. Now what?

So you've taken the test and you've learned that you have SIBO. Congrats!

What does it all mean? Well, there are a number of different treatment options you may be recommended. There are several different types of conventional antibiotics as well as some great herbal options. And there's also an option that isn't quite for the faint of heart: The elemental diet.

But know this: SIBO is hardly ever in isolation. If one thing goes out of whack in the gut, there could possibly be other things that are out of whack too. As someone who personally had to do the whole trial-and-error thing for years until I quite literally was near sepsis, I strongly recommend finding a functional medicine practitioner who knows the ins and outs of the digestive system and can offer you advice from a more holistic perspective. If you need help in deciphering the bigger picture and getting to the root cause, this is where working with someone who will offer the right testing can be imperative. If you're not sure who to talk to or where to start, set up a FREE discovery call with me and I'll offer you some suggestions.
 

A quick note on the elemental diet:

Essentially you would consume only the broken down elements of food in liquid form for a period of time set by your practitioner. So instead of eating protein in the form of something like meat, you'd have amino acids in a powder form, mixed up with water. Instead of eating avocado or a handful of almonds, you'd drink something like a spoonful olive oil for your fats. Instead of eating vegetables, you'd have your carbohydrates in the form of something like a spoonful of honey. And of course, all of the vitamins and minerals you'd need would be taken in liquid or powder form as well. Now there are a number of different styles and options for this diet, but the idea is that the body will be given the opportunity to absorb everything it needs before it has a chance to make it to where the bacterial overgrowth is in the body, thus eventually starving it away. It can take a few weeks, and yes - You may feel yourself going a bit crazy without having the opportunity to actually chew and eat food for that long. It can be a challenge!

On the flip-side of that coin, some people love it because they don't have to worry about what to eat for a few weeks. But alas, this wasn't the best option for me because, as you can probably tell based on my choice of career, I kind of dig food.

I know a woman by the name os Sylvie McCracken who had amazing results from the elemental diet after trying plenty of other things, and she even wrote a book about SIBO and her experience called The SIBO Solution. You may find this to be a really valuable resource in deciphering what will work best for you.

There are some homemade versions of the elemental diet as well as some pre-packaged ones that apparently taste a bit less terrible than the homemade ones, but they tend to be fairly expensive. Again - Find yourself a practitioner who understands SIBO  and will look at your situation as a whole that can guide you in your journey.

 
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Oh yeah - And one more note on the elemental diet, if you choose to go this route: In many people, it can cause a flare of Candida, which is a yeast overgrowth. If you tend to have a lot of skin issues, yeast infections or other yeast-related issues, or if you notice a thick, white coating on your tongue, you may want to avoid this option. I know I sound like a broken record here, but For real: Get yourself an awesome practitioner who actually understands this condition (and all things gut health) for support! This might take some trial and error, and you may find yourself switching practitioners during your treatment, and THAT'S OKAY. If something isn't working, you have my full permission to move. After all, you're not a tree. ;)


My treatment is complete. What next?

The debate on whether you should re-test is open for discussion, but frankly, I think it is ESSENTIAL. Why? Because your symptoms don't necessarily tell you exactly what is happening in the gut. I consider myself a "Test - Don't guess" kinda girl, so shortly after treatment (I'm talking within a week or 2!), I think it's a good idea to do another breath test and find out where you're at in terms of gas levels. You may determine that while your symptoms have subsided, your gas levels are still a touch on the high end, and you may benefit from doing another round of antimicrobials, or perhaps just a few extra days of the elemental diet. On the flip side of that coin, you may still experience pain and discomfort, but a test could reveal that your gas numbers are quite low! This is often referred to as "visceral hypersensitivity," and can make you THINK you still have SIBO when in fact you may be getting better. 

Case in point: It's better to know exactly where you stand so you can effectively know what to do next. The best way to do that? Suck it up and do the damn test. 


After treatment, consider a prokinetic.

When your treatment is officially done, you'll also want to talk to your practitioner about using a prokinetic. (A whaaaaaaaaat?)  

A prokinetic is something that helps to support your migrating motor complex. (Your whaaaaaaaat?)

Hear me out: Your small intestine has this system called the migrating motor complex (or MMC for short), and it's job is to sweep away any excess bits of bacteria, fibers and food that are taking up space between meals. It happens BETWEEN meals when we are in a fasted state. I actually wrote an entire blog post on this topic, which you can read by clicking here.

What you need to know that is SIBO an cause your migrating motor complex to malfunction, and if you don't support it in recovery, guess what you can get? 

Bingo: A relapse of SIBO! 

Because you can use antimicrobials and herbs to kill the SIBO as much as you want, but if every time you eat something it isn't able to effectively move out, you'll just continue to create the same problem.

This is where prokinetics come in. Much like the treatment options, there are both pharmaceutical and herbal options for prokinetics, and what will work best for each individual will vary. Talk to your practitioner about it!

So step 1: Test for SIBO. (I also recommend doing functional testing to help figure out why you have SIBO as well)
Step 2: With a rockstar practitioner by your side, treat said SIBO.
Step 3: re-test.
Step 4: Either re-treat if SIBO is still present, OR use a prokinetic to support the MMC.


What about diet?

Here's what you need to know: There are roughly 8 different dietary protocols that can be used while dealing with SIBO symptoms or undergoing SIBO treatments, and it can vary tremendously based on the individual. The diet is typically not a cure, although they do tend to help with the SYMPTOMS quite a bit. You may find the GAPS diet, or the low FODMAP diet, or the Autoimmune Paleo or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet will work for you, or you might not. And again - I cannot stress enough the importance of working alongside someone who can help you to uncover the diet that will work best for you! When every time you eat something you are experiencing symptoms, it can not only create fear around food (which can result in avoiding social situations, guilt and shame around spending too much time and money on food, agoraphobia AKA anxiety and obsession around just about anything you eat, and immense levels of stress about having to cook EVERY.DAMN.THING you eat from scratch), but it can also take you so much longer in pinpointing the foods that are actually triggering your symptoms when you don't have the right support system. Trust me - It took me about a year to figure out what worked best for me, because it can be so different for everyone.

I can now officially call myself a SIBO dietary veteran, and I'm still waiting for my trophy in the mail for surviving it all.

My best advice: Find a practitioner who has BEEN THERE and knows the most common triggers. (That wasn't meant to be a shameless plug...Unless of course you want it to be!)

I personally found my best success and felt the least amount of symptoms with a modified version of Autoimmune Paleo and the low FODMAP diet, but again - Every person's situation is so unique with this, so that may be the totally wrong diet for YOU. 

Oftentimes, those with an imbalance in the gut also tend to deal with new food sensitivities as well. For example: You may find that you suddenly can't eat foods that are high in histamine. So while you might have read on the good old Inter-webs that when you have gut issues you should eat lots of fermented foods and drink bone broth, you might still feel like crap because you now have an intolerance to histamine!

Maddening, right?

For myself I suddenly had an intolerance to oxalates, which are found in dates, beets, kale, and almonds - All of which are in my diet. What did this result in? Painful crystals (thankfully no stones, but LOTS of pain) in my left kidney! Yes friends - All of those otherwise intuitively healthy foods that I was eating while assuming I was doing the body good? Totally terrible for my unique situation.

Sigh - This whole SIBO thing can be pretty obnoxious, can't it? 


Meal spacing is EXTREMELY important when dealing with SIBO. 

Remember that migrating motor complex we were just chatting about? Well it tends to kick in when we are in a fasted state. As a matter of fact, if you've ever experienced your stomach rumbling when you're hungry, you were actually feeling your MMC in action! The trouble with SIBO is that we are often snacking too much and are not providing enough time between meals in order for the MMC to be able to kick in and effectively swiffer duster the remnants of your gut!

But just in case you were excited to see ONE thing that wasn't complicated about SIBO, let me throw a wrench in that thought for a sec: The amount of time between meals also is dependent upon what your hormones are up to! Struggling with hormone imbalances or blood sugar dysregulation? Then doing a long intermittent fast or spacing your meals too much can potentially worsen those symptoms, or make you crave all the things, thus potentially making you feel WAY worse. I know I sound like a broken record here, but again: Everyone is unique, so find someone who GETS IT and they can help you figure out what the proper meal spacing will look like in your protocol.

For some people, it might look like just 3 hours between meals, and for others, fully embracing something like intermittent fasting may provide incredibly healing benefits! All of that time you're spending not eating can starve those little bacteria residing in your gut so you can get back to feeling like YOU again. 

I know it can be hard to believe that you can ever feel like you again when IBS has been a part of your life for what could be years, or perhaps even decades, but trust me: What can come of supporting your body through this process can be life-altering, my friends!


Adding foods back into your diet (AKA the reintroduction phase) will probably become the bane of your existence.

This crazy thing happens when we are faced with IBS-like symptoms or a SIBO diagnosis where suddenly our once varied diet and ability to eat whatever the heck we wanted has become a list of about 5 foods that we can eat without agony. I've been there. I once spent four months eating only meat and greens because literally ALL OF THE THINGS were sending my body into a whirlwind. I feel you, my friend. 

And so does my husband, because he had to listen to me complain about it on a fairly consistent basis. ;)
 

What's for breakfast? Chicken salad.
Lunch? Salmon and greens.
Dinner? Leftover chicken salad.
Ooh - I think I'll get wild and have a late night snack while we watch a movie for a change! I see you're really enjoying that big bowl of buttery popcorn, but I think instead I'd rather have a cold leftover piece of salmon and a few brussels sprouts...But only about 4 brussels sprouts because any more than that and I'll be running to the bathroom.
Yeah. That sounds good...

 

Then we seem to go from this experience directly into agony about watching other people eat potatoes without giving a damn, or going out for a coffee and pouring a splash of milk in it without worrying about the impact of the dairy, or cooking without checking the spice label for garlic, or shopping at the grocery store without spending $12,938.00 and six hours choosing what to get.

This experience is generally followed up with avoiding people and social situations in general to avoid trying to decipher the 2.5 things on a dinner menu that are safe for you to eat, and to avoid the question of, "Why so restricted?"

"Oh, you know, just this crazy bacterial overgrowth thing..." (Not a fan favourite for dinner table topics of conversations - Especially when it's about your own body. I FEEL YOU.)

We tend to jump from this experience to the next one, which is usually being terrified to reintroduce foods back in for fear that we will bring the SIBO back and we'll have to start the whole process all over again (Rest assured that while we can usually bring symptoms back in this way, gas levels from the bacteria don't tend to rise significantly. This of course isn't my recommendation to go wild and have a free-for-all, but just know that having five brussels sprouts instead of six isn't going to end the world. Promise.)

And more good news: As time passes and you slowly start to see improvements, many of the foods you were sensitive too will be okay to eat again. As a matter of fact, reintroduction is essential to true recovery. I know that you might feel better on the low FODMAP diet or the SCD diet, but our body thrives on DIVERSITY. The bacteria that make up our immune system in our gut are as diverse as the amazon rainforest and they all thrive on different plants and fibers, which means we must be brave and face the reintroduction phase. Just do it wisely, k?


Oh, and just an FYI

Listen, friend. I hate to be a Debbie Downer here, but there's one thing I need to get off my chest. It might sound kind of crappy, but understanding this will actually provide you more confidence in the long run, okay? I promise.

Relapsing with SIBO doesn't just happen sometimes; it's actually pretty damn common.

I would rather tell you this in complete openness and honesty now, because if you were diagnosed with this condition and you were expecting to take a pill and be back to normal in 30 days, I would rather you understand the reality of the situation so you can feel better prepared for what's to come. 

Does this mean that you WILL relapse? Not at all - But it does mean that if you find yourself a few months from now feeling like you're back where you started, you can now say, "Okay - I knew this might happen, so where do we go from here?"

 
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You see, healing from SIBO often means not just eliminating the SIBO, supporting the MMC and following a nutritional protocol, but also discovering what . triggered it to happen in the first place. There are a multitude of potential root causes, and I HIGHLY recommend working with a functional medicine practitioner to figure it all out. I just so happen to have some AMAZING ones on my side, so set up a discovery call with me if you need some advice. They work 100% virtually like me, so no matter where you are, you will never be alone.

Without uncovering the root cause of the SIBO, oftentimes we find ourselves relapsing because it can continue to trigger it.

And sometimes, you might only need one round of treatment, while for others they may need 2 or 3 rounds. And that's okay. Just know that you are making progress. K? Cool.

I know it can be discouraging, but it is my hope that having this crazy long blog post will help equip you not only with an understanding of the condition itself & how to test for it, but also the things to look out for, how to treat it, how to support your body in the healing process, and then MOVE THE HECK ON with your life. :)


One last thing: Let's talk about stress.

Did you know that in some cases, anxiety can be either a product OR a cause of gut issues? It's true! And it is both my professional and personal belief that every single SIBO case has some sort of a stress component. If you are taking the antimicrobials and your diet is on point and you're sleeping well each night but you're still doing nothing to support your emotional body, my friends, you're doin' it wrong.

So let's open up this one final can of worms (which frankly, could be an entire massive blog post in itself). You ready?

1. I'll start with the basics: Stomach acid is your friend.
 
Your stomach tends to be a highly acidic place, which is a good thing. You want to have strong stomach acid, because this acidity is what helps the body in breaking down your meal. It also helps to neutralize any microscopic bacteria, parasites and other pathogens that seem to be ON and IN just about everything these days. Kind of important, right? 

Stress is one of a number of things that can actually suppress stomach acid production, which we now can see may cause or worsen our digestive issues! 

Does this mean that because you have SIBO you should just go out and buy a supplement to help bring up your stomach acid? Not necessarily. Again, we are all unique and our reason for developing SIBO is unique too, so finding out your root cause is key here before blindly buying and trying all of the things.

Trust me. That method of healing can get pretty dang expensive.

2. The brain in your belly.
Did you know that our digestive tract houses a huge amount of neurotransmitters? In essence, science is showing us that we literally have this sort of "brain" in our belly, which is why those with digestive issues tend to also have anxiety or difficulty in managing stress. The gut is linked so intimately with the brain, and the brain is linked with the gut - The two can send messages back and forth. Wild, right? How incredible to see clients who have dealt with crippling anxiety for decades suddenly treat their digestive issues and their anxiety is much easier to manage, or disappears completely! The key here is understanding that managing it from both a gut and a brain perspective is key, because the two are so connected.

3. Stimulate the vagus nerve
Have you ever heard of the vagus nerve? In my humble opinion, it's one of the coolest parts of the human body. It starts at the base of your brain and makes its way allllll the way down the body, touching every single organ. In some instances, this nerve tends to lose tone, and when this happens, it often shows up in the form of digestive issues. 

One of the best ways to strengthen the vagus nerve and to re-establish the connection between the brain and the belly is by using the Ujjayi breath (Yep, that's the same breath you learned about in yoga class. No wonder those yogis are so dang healthy!). You can also strengthen the vagus nerve by gargling vigorously, stimulating your gag reflex, spending the last 60 seconds of your shower under COLD water, and belting out your favourite tunes in the car.  These things seems so unrelated to healthy digestive function, but trust me on this one. This isn't woo-woo, and the more you learn about the vagus nerve, the more it will impress you.

4. Send bloodflow to your digestive system by CHILLING OUT.
I've got one last tip for you, and this alone could very well be the biggest pinnacle of the stress-SIBO discussion. While everything I've shared in this massive blog post is important, this one point in particular is THE BIG KAHUNA. So listen up, dear readers.

Have you ever heard of your autonomic nervous system? It's the system in your body that does all of the stuff you don't have to THINK about. It pumps your heart for you, it breathes for you while you're sleeping, and it digests your food. The autonomic nervous system (or ANS for short) has 2 states that it can work under: The parasympathetic state (AKA your "rest-and-digest" state), or the sympathetic state (AKA your "fight-or-flight" state). 

When we're in the "rest-and-digest" state, blood flow is moving throughout our organs of digestion and detoxification,  meaning our body is most effectively able to process the food we're eating. When we're in "fight-or-flight," blood flow leaves our digestive system and heads down to our arms and legs to help us fight or run from a potential threat.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that in today's fast-paced, high stress world, the average person spends more than 70% of their LIFE in a stressful state. And to be honest, I think that statistic is low, because it doesn't take into account social media! You see, even if we're just scrolling on Facebook or we're thinking about a memory of something that happened 20 years ago (which feels like a passive and harmless thing to do), our physical body and our ANS is experiencing the fight-or-flight state, thus sending blood flow away from the organs that allow us to digest our food and eliminate toxins and waste. This is a massive problem.

 
sibo and stress
 

The best thing we can do? Chill. Slow down. Do whatever the heck we need to do to better manage stress. Take 10 slow, deep breaths before we eat a meal, and remain in that calm state for a few hours after we eat, too. Eat at the kitchen table with the TV off and cellphones away. Simply be more mindful of where your energy is.

I invite you to think of your breath like this amazing, FREE tool that is available to you any time, anywhere. It's like a light switch that can turn on the rest-and-digest state whenever you need it. Overwhelmed? 10 deep breaths. Anxious? 10 deep breaths. Can't poop? 10 deep breaths. 


Seriously, my SIBO & IBS warriors. All of these little tips and hacks will add up, and can make such a profound difference in our lives. Oftentimes we just want the one magic pill or supplement or dietary change that will make things go back to the way they are, but when it comes to SIBO, it tends to be more of a journey. 

For myself, there was life before SIBO, and life after SIBO. It isn't a journey I wish upon ANYONE, but nonetheless it is one that many of you may need to take. Hang in there, support your body the best you can, build YOUR healthcare team who will support you on a physical, mental and emotional level, and manage stress the best you possibly can. And of course, grab the FREE IBS & SIBO SOS Summit, which will run from September 03-10. My hope is that by providing you with as many tools and resources as I can it will make your SIBO journey a far smoother ride that the one I personally had to take.

And for goodness sake, please share this with at least ONE person you know who has dealt with digestive issues like SIBO, IBS, parasites, anxiety or leaky gut. As I mentioned, there are even gastroenterologists and naturopaths who are completely unaware of this condition. It is becoming much more well understood, but that awareness starts with us. So let's change some lives, shall we?
 

In health,

Michelle