Researchers have estimated that 30-40% of the western population have SIBO without knowing about it and still only limited knowledge is known about why SIBO occurs.
However if you’re someone who lives with IBS, having SIBO can be frustrating, uncomfortable and just downright depressing. Like myself, I suffer with IBS-A (alternating between constipation and diarrhoea), I follow a strict low FODMAP diet, I exercise every day and drink 2.5-3 litres of water per day too. But it’s not enough to keep SIBO from coming back, one small slip up on my diet or a bout of constipation will trigger it. I have been treated twice this year; one for high levels of methane gas and the other time for hydrogen gas. Both times I had to go on Neomycin Sulphate and Ciprofloxacin both strong antibiotics which have horrible side effects of nausea, dizziness and eye pain, so I’m very reluctant to go back on them again.
How to prevent SIBO from coming back
Right now I have managed to keep it at bay with peppermint capsules twice a day (one after breakfast and one after lunch.), Grapefruit seed extract once a month and a probiotic (with lactobacillus) once per week. Because, SIBO is a bacterial infection I don’t want to flood my system with more bacteria from the probiotics, regardless if it’s good, it won’t help the problem.
Sugar & Extremely Low Carbohydrate Diet
I also avoid refined sugar completely, which is hard but it is the key to preventing SIBO from reoccurring. The reason why is because bacteria that causes SIBO feeds off sugar and continues to multiply, this is why one of the side effects of SIBO is the sugar cravings. By eliminating sugar and eating a low carbohydrate diet you are killing the bacteria by starving it.
If I eat sugar it’s usually fruits that I’m allowed on the low FODMAP list, including berries, small quantities of banana (high in sugar) or papaya. I still have to watch my sugar intake with fruit as…well, it’s still sugar.
This routine has helped my manage my reoccurring SIBO and stay bloat free and I hope to stay this way, for the foreseeable future.