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Can Meals Trigger Symptoms of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

Video Transcript:

Hi everyone. Welcome back. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth commonly referred to as SIBO is a condition that's pretty common in individuals but often overlooked.

SIBO is a condition that's characterized by the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines, which can lead to digestive discomfort.

Symptoms can vary from person to person, but symptoms generally include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

Certain types of foods, especially those that we see during the holiday season, can trigger symptoms. For those struggling with SIBO, understanding SIBO is the first step to managing your symptoms.

So in today's video, we are going to review what SIBO is, what triggers SIBO symptoms, and then natural ways that you can alleviate symptoms and make the holidays a little bit more enjoyable and improve your quality of life.

Hi, I am Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietitian at Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome gut issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about gut health, I've linked our free guide Five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health below in the description box.

Okay, let's get started. On today's topic.

The small intestines should have a relatively small amount of bacteria compared to the rest of the GI tract, but like I had already mentioned with SIBO, there's an overgrowth of bacteria in that region.

The overgrowth interferes with the normal digestive process and can lead to other health issues.

Symptoms occur due to the fermentation that happens in the gut and intestinal inflammation, intestinal permeability, or also known as leaky gut and poor absorption and digestion of nutrients.

Other GI symptoms that people may experience are things like reflux and heartburn, nausea, burping, fatty stools, or increased food sensitivities.

There are also symptoms that are not related to the GI system, and those would be things like fatigue, brain fog, headaches, changes in your mood, skin issues, or joint pain.

Additionally, because of poor absorption of nutrients, you may see things like nutrient deficiencies, and some of the common ones that we see are with vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iron.

So you may be wondering what foods trigger SIBO symptoms or make them worse?

Well, when your diet is high in sugars or certain types of carbohydrates, the bacteria specifically in your gut will ferment the dietary carbohydrates in your diet and produce the symptoms of gas and bloating as a byproduct.

Stress and alcohol can also trigger symptoms for individuals.

Symptoms can be intermittent and can worsen after your meals, and this happens especially when you have a meal that's high in those fermentable carbohydrates and sugars.

Now, symptoms onset is different per person. Some people experience immediate symptoms after eating, while others don't experience symptoms for a few hours.

SIBO can also affect your stool.

So SIBO can lead to fat malabsorption, which can cause your poop to float, or you can also see mucus in your stool.

It can cause loose watery stools or hard lumpy stools depending on your specific symptoms, you may also notice a change in the color.

It may look green or yellow, and this is due to malabsorption or altered bile production and that fermentation that's happening in your gut.

You might also notice that it smells really foul or you may smell like a sulfur smell or rotten egg smell.

And this is because during that bacterial fermentation that occurs in the gut, it produces a compound as a byproduct that has a very strong smell.

So now that we know what SIBO is, what do we do about it? How do you improve the SIBO symptoms?

So the ultimate goal for the treatment of SIBO is to get to the underlying root cause of why you got it in the first place while trying to manage your symptoms in the process.

So in the meantime, it can be helpful to really limit those fermentable carbohydrates and sugars in the diet just to provide some symptom relief.

Now, this could look something like a low FODMAP diet, but remember, these diets are pretty restrictive, so these are not meant to be long-term solutions.

These are just meant to help relieve symptoms while you get to the root cause of the problem.

Other things you can do is to be mindful of your portion sizes. Overeating can really overwhelm the digestive system and make your SIBO symptoms worse.

It's also a good idea to identify your individual food triggers because it could be different for everybody. And once you figure out what those triggers are, really focus on finding alternatives to those in the meantime while you're trying to get to the problem at hand.

And then also eat mindfully slow down when you're eating because this is going to help really break down your food properly.

Now, the treatment for SIBO, typically it involves a combination of things to really help reduce the bacterial overgrowth and prevent recurrence, and this will depend on what the root cause is for that individual.

Why did they get it in the first place, or any underlying conditions that are contributing to the SIBO?

Things like a reduced intestinal immunity, poor motility in the gut, suboptimal levels of stomach acid, digestive enzymes in bile, just to name a few things.

So remember, every individual is different, and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another person because of having different root causes, and that's why it's important to work with a professional that has a root cause focus so they can really dig down and figure out what your specific root cause is for SIBO symptoms and create a treatment plan specifically for you.

With that being said, a bit of planning and mindfulness can really help you enjoy the holiday meals without triggering your SIBO symptoms.

Avoid foods that you know are your trigger foods. You want to watch your portion sizes and also eat mindfully so that you're not overindulging in making your digestive symptoms worse.

So to wrap up our topic for today, the holidays can be a stressful time for people struggling with SIBO, but the goal is not to eliminate all your favorite foods, but instead find a balance that's going to work for you and your symptoms so that you can enjoy the holidays without compromising your health.

If you liked this video, please hit the like button and subscribe for more nutrition videos. Let us know in the comments what your experience is with SIBO and if you have any strategies for managing it that you'd like to share.

I hope you found this video to be helpful, and if you're interested in working with our clinic, you could click the link below in the description box to schedule an appointment.

We do take insurance and you can find that information on our website.

Thank you for watching. I'll see you next time.

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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic.  We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

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