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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'm Learning the Hard Way: SIBO Is Notoriously Tricky to Treat

In my last blog post I waxed happily about the treatment I had undergone for SIBO, and the fact that I can now eat anything but wheat and dairy. Since that post, a number of you have contacted me to let me know that you, too, have been tested for, and diagnosed with, SIBO. We all agree that it’s empowering to finally have a f’in’ diagnosis, but I’m here to confirm what many of us are learning the hard way: SIBO (which may be the root cause for up to 80% of IBS sufferers) is a d-bag, and notoriously tricky to treat.

When I finished the course of antibiotics (Rifaximin) that left me feeling better than I had in years (woohoo!), my doctor warned me: SIBO recurs in many (maybe most?) patients. He told me that I must be vigilant about taking follow-up supplements to maintain motility and continue healing all the damage SIBO has done to your gut. Otherwise, it’s almost guaranteed to come back.

The doc instructed me to take MotilPro and Lionsmane and Iberogast twice a day every day for 6 months, and then we’d follow up again. No problem, I told him! I’m anal (haha) about taking my meds and supplements! I would crush this thing!

At first all was going well, and I still could tolerate everything but wheat and dairy. Then I made the extremely ill-advised decision to try eating a little bit of wheat, and it set me back months. MONTHS! For a while, I felt as shitty (I’m on FIRE with the puns today) as I had pre-antibiotics. I could no longer eat beans or onions without stomach pain. But I didn’t panic, and I kept taking my supplements, and within a couple of weeks I could eat some beans and onions again.

Now, once again, I generally feel notably better than I did before the antibiotics. Over 50% of the time, I can eat beans and onions and garlic without stomach pain. But some days, I revert back to the old familiar state where any high-FODMAP foods cause pain. I’ve got no clue what causes these differences, but I’m working on figuring it out.

What I do know for sure is that if wheat or lactose slip into my gut (which happens not infrequently when I eat at restaurants), I dip into a tailspin, like old days.

So, it’s a work in progress.

I’ll update again on this in a few months, but in the meantime I’ll go back to posting low-FODMAP recipes. Good luck with your eating!