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Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a gastrointestinal condition affecting the small intestine. It occurs when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start growing in the small intestine. Unlike large intestine, small intestine is supposed to be free of bacteria to facilitate absorption of nutrients. Overgrowth of bacteria in this region leads to a variety of additional symptoms.


SIBO symptoms may include:

  • Gas, bloating

  • Indigestion

  • Pain in the stomach, especially after eating

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion

  • Feeling of fullness

  • Lack of response to probiotics

  • Lack of response to IBS treatment


Several things can contribute to SIBO. A few are listed below:

  1. Anatomic abnormalities in the small bowel

  2. Abnormal pH changes in the small bowel

  3. Dysfunctional immune system 

  4. Malfunction of the muscular activity of the small intestine, which means that food and bacteria aren’t efficiently removed from the area

  5. Ileo-cecal valve defect

Additionally, SIBO is associated with various conditions which directly or indirectly affect motility or promote migration of bacteria from large colon to small intestine, such as:

  1. Gastroenteritis

  2. hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid levels

  3. Irritable bowel syndrome

  4. Celiac disease

  5. Crohn’s disease

  6. Gastroparesis as seen in diabetes 

  7. Chronic pancreatitis

  8. Nerve damage due to any reason

  9. Gastric bypass procedures

  10. Surgeries that cause strictures or adhesions

Diagnosis is based upon

  • Above mentioned symptoms

  • Medical history

  • Physical examination

  • Blood, fecal, or other tests.

  • Breath test (a breath test is a common test for diagnosing SIBO. Excess bacteria in the small intestine can lead to the release of the gases hydrogen and methane, which can be identified through a breath test. This test is noninvasive and can be performed at home or in a doctor’s office.)




Antibiotics are used to treat SIBO and are found to be approximately 50% effective according to some studies. There are other, more natural methods to try before or in addition to antibiotics. Here are some at-home solutions for healing the gut and improving the microflora balance.

Herbs and Condiment

1. Choosing the Right Foods



A low FODMAP diet avoids it foods that might feed the bacteria

(like fructans in wheat or sorbitol in fruit). The only problem with

this diet is that it also requires the restriction of many fruits,

vegetables, and foods that are otherwise healthy and full of

nutrients like beets, cauliflower, mushrooms, shallots, berries, and avocado. 


Fermented Foods


There is some debate about whether fermented foods will make SIBO

worse, or help heal it. However, some people do benefit from these foods.

Try adding fermented foods like sauerkraut or kiwis' in slowly, along with

a meal, for a small dose of helpful probiotics. 

2. Avoiding Wrong Foods


It has been proven through numerous studies that carbohydrates and sugar can fuel SIBO growth, while fiber protects it. Instead of bread or cookies, load up on salads, roasted veggies, greens, and healthy smoothies.

Sometimes SIBO is caused by undiagnosed celiac disease and severe lactose intolerance. These foods are also common culprits in causing inflammation in the body, so its best to eliminate them while you heal. 


3. Proper Chewing of Food

With any type of intestinal ailment, chewing food thoroughly can

relieve some pressure on digestive system and prevent large pieces

of food from passing through the gastrointestinal tract and inflaming

 body. Chewing food enough until its mostly all liquid—can especially

help if you suffer from intestinal permeability along with SIBO. 


4. Herbs & Supplements


Certain herbs, like oregano oil, wild garlic, or berberine,

can help keep the overgrowth at bay naturally, without

the use of antibiotics. 



5. Apple Cider Vinegar


Apple cider vinegar is helpful in boosting digestion and raising

hydrochloric acid in the body, which breaks down food. Add a tablespoon

to an 8-ounce glass of water before a meal, or use it as a dressing on your salad. 


6. Gut Motility Agents 


Several gut motility agents can improve intestinal motility

and prevent gut sluggishness.

A few are 

a. Iberogast

b. Magnesium citrate

c. Buffered C powder

d. Exercise 


7. Intermittent Fasting and Timing of Meals


Intermittent fasting might be beneficial for some with SIBO, since consuming

any food might fill the body with fermentation byproducts, causing symptoms.

Short-term bone broth fasting can also starve the bacteria, lessening the


8. Ileocecal Valve Release


Researchers studying SIBO have found that patients with the condition often

have a dysfunctional ileocecal valve, which connects the small intestine to

the large intestine. If the valve is dosed, you may struggle with constipation.

If is stuck open, you can experience diarrhea and malabsorption. But in terms

of SIBO, an open valve might also allow various bacteria to enter the small

intestine and proliferate. Self-massaging the area could help. 

9. Avoidance of Constipation


Improving the frequency of bowel movements is helpful for overall detoxification.

Incorporate fiber containing foods, fiber supplements and fluids and exercise into daily routine.

Fresh Food
Fruit Cheesecake
Healthy Loaf of Bread
Healthy Diet
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