Healing from SIBO can be very difficult due to the nature of the overgrowth. However, a lot of people suffer from relapses due to these common mistakes. I want to save you from making these SIBO mistakes!
For a quick overview, SIBO is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This essentially means that bacteria are growing in the wrong area of your intestines. For example, common symptoms are constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, and vitamin deficiencies.
As always, if you feel that you’ve made any of these SIBO mistakes, please discuss them with your physician/practitioner.
1). Deciding to not get tested
This is the worst mistake you can make! There are three different types of SIBO, in which each one requires a different protocol. The three types of SIBO are methane-dominant, hydrogen-dominant, and hydrogen sulfide. Each one comes with its own set of symptoms.
By not testing, you prolong your healing journey as you might not be treating it with the right anti-microbials. The only way to get tested is by a breath test, which you can get from any practitioner or order it yourself. However, if you do order it, have a practitioner go over the results with it.
2). Forgetting about co-infections
This is another big SIBO mistake, as SIBO is often caused by something else. Some common co-infections are:
- Low Stomach Acid
- Gallbladder Issues (not enough bile)
- Hormone Imbalances
- Autoimmune Disease (Hashimotos)
- Migrating Motor Complex slows down
- Epstein-Bar Virus
What is most important about this can prevent SIBO from going away but trigger it to come back. Therefore, as you kill off the bacteria, it is also important to treat the co-infections. Often what happens is once one is significantly better, the other can heal efficiently.
3). Doing too short of a kill phase
When it comes to treating a bacterial overgrowth, it is a three-step process. The first phase is the kill phases, in which you want to get rid of that bacteria. The second phase is healing, in which you want to heal the GI tract. Lastly is the reintroduction period.
Depending on your type of SIBO, you can either do pharmaceutical or homeopathic medicine. I personally did homeopathic medicine as it doesn’t disrupt your microflora like an antibiotic would. These are some options you can choose from:
- Rifaximin: The typical duration is 10-14 days depending on your dosage, which ranges from 1200-1650 mg.
- Rifaximin and Neomycin: The typical duration is 1600mg of Rifaimin and then 1000mg of Neomycin for 10-14 days. This is best suited for those with methane-dominant SIBO due to constipation.
- Rifaximin and Metronidazole: The typical duration is Rifaximin 1600 mg per day + Metronidazole 750 mg per day for 10 days. Metronidazole is an alternative to Neomycin.
- Dysbiocide and FC Cidal: The recommended duration is taking these twice per day for 4-6 weeks.
- Candibactin AR and BR: The recommended duration is taking these twice per day for 4-6 weeks.
- Combination of 1-3 herbs for 4-weeks at maximum dosage on the bottle:
- Allicin (typically known as Allimed)
- Berberine (usually in Goldenseal, Oregan Grape, Barberry, Coptis, and/or Phellodendron)
The herbals above are often a combination of herbs and oils from the list in the third bullet. To learn more about these, talk to your practitioner, and you can find Dr. Siebecker as she is the queen research of SIBO. She was a major help for me, especially when I had no idea what SIBO was.
4). Skipping the Healing phase
This is so important as SIBO often causes damage to the intestinal lining, causing a leaky gut. This is when there are little holes that let food particles in your bloodstream. A good sign of this suddenly has random food intolerances. For example, I suddenly started reacting to avocados, and I LOVE them…
Healing your gut is often the second stage of healing, in which you go on some protocol. I personally did Low Fodmap, but others have done SCD or GAPS. These are specific protocols that limit certain types of carbohydrates that feed the bacteria. This is a temporary process, as excluding all these foods for too long can cause an issue for the large intestines.
This phase usually lasts 1-3 months, depending on how severe your case is. A good sign that you’re ready for this phase is getting retested or going based on how you feel. I personally didn’t get retested; however, I no longer had any SIBO symptoms.
Some supplements you can take during this period is the following:
- GI Revive or IPS from Biotics
- Bone Broth (whether regular broth or powder)
- Spore-Based Probiotic
- Digestive Bitters or HCl (only if you have low stomach acid)
- Digestive Enzymes
These will help you heal your stomach lining more effectively, especially if you have a severe leaky gut case.
5). Never Reintroducing Foods
This is often more of a mindset concern, in my opinion. I remember it was hard for me to reintroduce certain foods because I was scared I would trigger a relapse. However, low fodmaps, SCD, and/or GAPs “avoid” foods did not trigger your SIBO. I want to repeat that…
Those specific foods did not trigger your SIBO!
When I heard someone say this, it all made sense; it is incredibly important to eat them. By reintroducing, you will be able to know which foods you can tolerate, how much you can eat of it, and how often. For example, I am okay eating broccoli at least 3 times per week, and I am okay. However, if I eat it every day for a week, I get all sorts of bloated and gassy.
The biggest thing is to reintroduce slowly and have awareness about your body. Keeping a food journal is highly recommended to track foods, portions sizes, and how you feel.
6). not utilizing a biofilm disruptor during the kill phase
With a lot of bacterial overgrowths, there can be biofilms. This is when the bacteria creates a protective shield around itself. What can happen is people get retested, and new bacteria are detected. Therefore, if the test doesn’t detect the bacteria, then neither will the antibiotics.
It is important to use a biofilm disruptor to break down the barrier so the antibiotics can kill the bacteria. I personally used Klaire Labs and had great success with it. You’ll take two capsules twice per day, 30-minutes away from your next meal.
7). not utilizing a prokinetic during the kill phase and the healing phase
A prokinetic helps to stimulate your migrating motor cortex (MMC). This is responsible for the muscle contractions after a meal, in which they push out debris and bacteria from the stomach. It also creates contractions in the intestines to keep pushing the debris out.
If you have Hashimoto’s, chronic stress or even trauma can cause the MMC to slow down. This causes bacteria and other pathogens to stay in areas for too long. Which you guessed, it can cause SIBO. This is often associated with those with constipation.
Some great options of prokinetic are:
- Ginger – 1,000mg at night
- Iberogast – 30-60 drops at night
- Motil Pro – 2-3 caps at night
- SIBO-MMC – 3 caps at night
- Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) – 2.5mg for diarrhea and 5mg for constipation at night
I personally used ginger and LDN, in which your doctor must proscribe LDN. Another great option that just came out is the peppermint capsule by doTerra. This something I want to try instead of taking the LDN.
8). Not having patience with the process
This. Is. Huge. I know I have said this for legit every mistake, but this one is up there. When it comes to healing SIBO, especially homeopathically, it takes time. Typically, the kill phase is 4-6 weeks, the healing phase is 1-3 months, and then you have the maintenance phase.
The goal is to get your gut to a happy and healthy state that cannot be rushed. The protocols are not meant to last forever, but they’re definitely some things to incorporate into your lifestyle. This can be a paleo lifestyle, spore-based probiotic, keeping 4-5 hours between meals, and so on.
What I recommend is having the supplement Dysbiocide as a backup. If you feel you’re getting bloated consistently, bowel movement changes, or the awful farts come back, take the supplement. It will help your gut to kick that bacteria out and balance out your gut flora. Honestly, it is for peace of mind.
I truly hope these tips help you reflect on your protocol to heal your SIBO permanently. I’d love for you to share this with anyone struggling with SIBO as no one should feel like crap.
Thank youu so much for reading!
**This information is not meant as medical or nutritional advice. Always check with your qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements or nutritional changes into your routine. A Primal Health Coach (PHC) is trained to evaluate nutritional needs and make recommendations of dietary changes and nutritional supplements. A PHC is unable to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition. I cannot guarantee any specific result from recommendations as we are all bio-individually different. If you are under the care of a healthcare provider, it is important that you contact them and alert them to any changes in your lifestyle in regards to nutrition and supplements. A health coach may be a beneficial addition to more traditional care, and it may also alter your need for medication, so it is important you always keep your physician informed of changes in your nutritional program.