What a journey! If you are familiar with this awful issue, then you know that healing SIBO is not easy. But for anyone new around here we are talking about Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and it is nasty! It’s crazy to think that I was probably suffering with SIBO for at least 7+ years before I even knew what it was. I feel like it is talked about a lot more now than it used to be and there is A LOT of information available on it which is great (although can be confusing)….
As a quick recap, I was first diagnosed with SIBO in February 2018 when I started working with a Naturopath who tried to help me on my healing SIBO journey.
I completed a gut healing protocol, experienced the die-off, felt a lot better, but my constipation never went away however it definitely improved, like a lot and at the time that was good enough for me. I had started to tell myself the story of “maybe, this is as good as it’s gonna get?). You can read about my gut healing journey in more detail here. I wish I hadn’t because despite feeling better, that feeling didn’t last. Over the next two years I felt my symptoms come back and my health kept deteriorating, I was extremely fatigued, bloated, constipated and craving sugar ALL the damn time!
So, at the beginning of 2021 I decided to dive right back into my gut and figure out why I was feeling so crappy. Sure enough, my SIBO was still there, a long with negative gram bacteria, intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and some other issues. I think the work I did with the Naturopath definitely helped to manage my symptoms, but the underlying cause (SIBO) had never gone away. A big thing I attribute to this, is the fact that no bio-agent film was used in my protocol. I believe this is critical when healing SIBO, you can read about biofilms and their necessity here and my naturopath never put one in my treatment plan (sigh).
In February 2021 I started gut healing SIBO protocol number 2 with a focus of healing SIBO and it looked like this:
Healing SIBO: 8-week Preparation Phase
This is also something that was missed from my first gut healing SIBO protocol, we did no preparation, just jumped straight into antimicrobials. Preparation is important because if the gut stays the way it is, it will revert right back there after antimicrobials. We needed to change the environment so that once the antimicrobial phase finished, my healthy gut would stay in tact rather than revert right back to where it was.
Healing SIBO: 12-week Antimicrobial Phase
6 weeks on first set of antimicrobials then another 6 weeks on a new set of antimicrobials. It’s important to switch up the herbs because the bacteria can adapt, smart little suckers! These twelve weeks were not fun, I felt like absolute dirt, at times it felt like my body was shutting down. I had extreme nausea, fatigue and felt very groggy in the head. This is a very normal herxheimer reaction also known as die off symptoms.
Healing SIBO: 5-week Clean Up Phase
The last five weeks are spent cleaning up any damage the antimicrobials may have caused but also repopulating the gut with probiotics and taking care of the gut lining.
EEEEP! This was the exciting and nervous part. I waited about two weeks after finishing the clean up phase to let my body settle and then re-tested EVERYTHING:
- New set of blood work;
- Complete Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) – yes a poop test; and
- SIBO Breath Test (lactulose, glucose & fructose = 3 tests)
If you are following me on Instagram you would have seen that the SIBO test is NOT fun! You need to follow a very strict diet of white chicken, white rice, eggs and bone broth, with 24hrs preparation the day before your first test. Safe to say, 3-4 days on this diet and I was an unhappy camper craving vegetables!
The stool and SIBO tests are both sent away to the lab and can take around 2-3 weeks to come back. This felt like FOREVER….
I am now officially SIBO free!! That’s right my healing SIBO journey is now over! You guys I honestly had tears in my eyes when I received the results. Wow, what a feeling of accomplishment after 7 long months of hard work!
But wait…. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses! My stool test showed that I have candida parapsilosis in my gut as well as negative gram bacteria. This was actually not too surprising as my coach had always said that our number one priority was healing SIBO and once that was gone we could move on to any underlying issues in the gut, well these are the underlying issues and that’s mean I am about to start gut healing protocol number 3 – prey for me.
The good news is candida and negative gram bacteria are a lot easier to manage than SIBO and there is no need for me to jump straight into fixing these issues, but next year is a huge year for me (looks like our wedding will finally go ahead!) and I want to be feeling my best so I will be diving straight into gut healing protocol number 3 in the next few weeks and of course I will be sharing the journey with you guys.
Healing SIBO is ROUGH! But you can do it, so please don’t give up if you are on your own gut healing journey. Leave any questions below and I’ll be happy to answer you as soon as I can.
If you are wanting to work with someone to identify and treat your gut issues, contact Charley from @Muscle4mind if you slide into his DM’s and tell him I sent you, he will be more than happy to jump on a free call with you and discuss treatment options, protocols etc.