There are several myths about SIBO and the biggest one is that SIBO itself is…well…a myth. Although many individual clinicians and natural practitioners are now coming around to the fact that SIBO is a bonafide condition, many national health authorities have not.
SIBO – The Myth
We have now reached a strange position within the field of medicine whereby a patient who presents with symptoms is simply not believed because science has neither identified it nor found a way of definitively proving it exists. This is in direct contrast to the practice of observational medicine where physicians would identify problems arising and then science would look for the cause and possible treatments. The cart has now, in medical circles, been put well and truly in front of the horse.
However SIBO is one form of gut dysbiosis and that has been proven to exist for over 100 years. There is no argument, dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of gut microflora, is proven to exist. And, should any further evidence be needed, this is only one of many peer reviewed research papers which provides details. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156250/
SIBO and Antibiotics
Another myth relating to SIBO, IBS and gut dysbiosis is that antibiotics will treat the condition. There can be little doubt that in some cases they may be effective, however most patients, even if they find relief from the symptoms initially, discover that they return at a later date – and in many cases are even worse than before. One reason for this, although there may be several, is that antibiotics have limited effectiveness in treating bacteria, and other microflora, which are housed in what are known as biofilms. Biofilms are colonies of microflora, not all of which cause problems, but which are resistant to antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics were developed to treat free-floating bacteria and are successful in eliminating them, however this is not the case where microflora have colonized. Around 60% of chronic infectious illness is said to be resistant to antibiotics due to the bacteria being protected by biofilms1. And, although little research is available specifically relating to SIBO it would seem that the chronic and recurring nature of the bacterial overgrowth stems from a recurrence of bacteria which, in abundance or overgrowth, are acting in a pathogenic manner indicative of biofilms.
One Size Fits All
Considering the number of opinions and treatment options abounding today, it will come as no surprise to most people that there is no one cure for SIBO. Some people respond more effectively to one kind of treatment and others do not. There does however seem to be several methods which relieve the symptoms of patients which include incorporating probiotics and/or prebiotics in the diet, some temporary dietary restrictions, increasing fermented food intake and supplementing with a specific or specialized product.
Eating fiber is good for you. But not always. As I mentioned in another article, because of the way fiber is digested this can often result in an exaggeration of symptoms rather than mitigating them.
Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction has become more commonly known as die-off. It refers to the reaction of the body ridding itself of toxins after treatment. It was first recognized in respect of syphilitic patients. Many people perceive negative reactions to be attributable to die-off after making only the slightest changes to diet or lifestyle. Such reactions are actually highly unlikely to be as a result of die-off because reaction occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed with toxins. Next time you appear to have adverse reactions to a product or a dietary change, consider first that the reaction might be because there is a negative reaction to the product or foodstuff before linking it to die-off. Die-off usually occurs within a few hours of treatment and produces flu like symptoms in patients who may be considered in the advanced stages of disease.