Bloated? IBS or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

by Leisa on January 15, 2012

Digestive complaints are much more common than you would think, and too many people have to put up with distressing and painful symptoms, because they are unable to find the answers they need. Many foods cause uncomfortable symptoms, one of the main culprits being the gluten in wheat based products. Wheat today has been hybridised and developed to have a much higher gluten content than it did in the past, and this higher level of gluten can irritate and upset the digestive system to varying degrees, and those with Coeliac Disease are unable to tolerate any gluten at all without severely compromising their health.

My preferred course of action when anyone has a digestive complaint – especially one that is long standing or hasn’t resolved with standard naturopath treatment programs – is to order a Complete Digestive Stool Anlaysis and really find out what is going on. These remarkable tests take a look at all aspects of the digestive tract – analysing everything from stomach acid levels, pancreatic and liver function; to maldigestion and toxin production, whether there are parasites, bad bacteria or candida; and if there are healthy levels of good bacteria or probiotics, just to name a few of the areas that it looks into.

The beauty of doing these tests is that we can target treat problems, rather than playing hit and miss and not really knowing what we are doing. There are certain things that show up in these tests that you would never be able to discover any other way. For example, we test for four different strains of good bacteria that make up about 70% of all the good bacteria in the gut. If one of those strains is missing, you could supplement with the other three strains forever and never correct the problem, because you need to be supplementing with that one missing strain – so unless you find that out, you would never know and could worsen symptoms rather than relieve them.

Which is why I suggest this test for anyone who wants to look into their digestive health further. You can read more about these tests and order them online here:

There is one area though that doesn’t really show up on these tests, (although we can see indicators for it at times), and that is problems of the small intestine. If there is a bad bacterial overgrowth in this area, it can cause a myriad of problems as discussed in the below article:

From “For ten years I looked pregnant. Between 1997 and 2007 my bloated belly peered over my waistband as I tried to hold it in. I wasn’t overweight or malnourished. Instead, doctor after doctor gave me the same diagnosis: irritable bowel syndrome.

About one in ten people have – or think they have – this horrible condition. Its chief symptoms, apart from bloating, are constipation and diarrhoea, with pain, fatigue and sometimes depression joining in. It is hardly taboo – several celebrities have revealed they suffer from IBS: actress Kirsten Dunst and model Tyra Banks to name a few. But are we being told the truth? Do we all really have IBS?

Four years ago, I began to suspect not. All my symptoms had intensified, in particular, the pain. I tried cutting out some of the known triggers: wheat, alcohol and cheese. I tried yoga and meditation – stress is thought to worsen the condition. But still I looked pregnant, and I grew suspicious something else was wrong. Desperate and fed up, I went to my GP and begged to be referred to a gastroenterologist.

He prodded at my protruding belly in search of cysts or tumours. He asked about my symptoms and how long I had suffered from them. He ran blood and urine tests to check for diabetes or signs of various cancers. Crucially, he took me seriously.

Having eliminated the most serious possible causes, he referred me for two tests at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital: one for lactose intolerance and one for something called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)…” Read the rest of the article here.

So if a Complete Digestive Stool Analysis hasn’t turned up the answers for you, then SIBO would be the next thing to look into.



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2 commentsAdd comment

VICTORIA March 15, 2012 at 5:38 am

Wow what an interesting article, some great info and things to try! Thanks xx

Leisa March 20, 2012 at 4:15 am

Thanks Victoria! It is a really interesting area and not many doctors are testing for it 🙂

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