Sibo Update #8 : It keeps getting better

It’s been a really long time since I updated y’all on my sibo healing protocol . . . and that’s because nothing else really changed. From the last update I gave, things pretty much stayed the same. Meaning, I held the course.

Healing from sibo and staying the course is something that seems really, really difficult – especially because you don’t always feel like you’re doing anything. Because gut healing takes time. Period. It takes time, and you have to give it time. The reason you follow low-fodmap is to give your body the time it needs to heal your gut and remember how digestion is supposed to work.

Remember, when you got sibo, the bacteria effed up your motility and jacked up your digestive enzymes, and possibly worked it’s way through the lining of your gut, too, so that things were leaking out into your body that weren’t supposed to be there. All of that requires a massive amount of healing, and no two-weeks-on-antibiotics or any other magic pill is going to do the work that TIME and CONSISTENCY will.

So I stayed the course. I ate low-fodmap and I ate at regular intervals throughout the day without snacking. And I definitely had some days when I ate more high- fodmaps than I should – I had a wedding AND and honeymoon through all of this, and you better believe I ate some blueberry pie at my wedding (we had PIE at our wedding!).  And after too much of it,  I’d feel terrible, and I’d go back to the strict diet, and if the inflammation didn’t go down after three days, I’d go in for some acupuncture, which has always helped calm things down.

During the time I was healing, some foods that had been listed as high-fodmap made the low-fodmap list – including small amounts of oats, rice, corn, cabbage, brussel sprouts, coconut milk and a small amount of avocado. So I got to add in more foods. Others, however, went the other way – like almonds. I had started to suspect almonds weren’t working for me anyway, so it was good to have that verified.

Things slowly, painstakingly got better. To the point where I made it through the holidays and somehow magically lost five pounds, all the while sneaking extra chocolate and treats from the cupboard. I also drank a fair amount of whiskey (1-2 drinks every other night or so while on holiday). Maybe I was just lucky, but I’d also paid my dues, already having been on the low-fodmap diet for 9 months (and the SCD 5 months before that).

Starting about February, I was given the green light by my ND to start adding high-fodmap foods back in slowly. She had me start with legumes, and recommended chickpeas. She said that amount and frequency mattered, so we started with 1/4 cup of cooked chickpeas mixed into an otherwise low-fodmap meal. Then I didn’t do that again for three days in order to give my body time to react. She told me that when we get to this phase of adding foods back, we need to be careful and consistent so we see if we’ve flared anything up. She also said that the order that high-fodmaps were reintroduced was also important. I knew that wheat, garlic and onions were the worst offenders for me, so I held off on those for a while. After the legumes, I tried small amounts of hard cheese, which was fine.

Now, I seem to be doing really well. After a big low-fodmap salad one night, I had a half slice of my husband’s pizza and had NO sibo symptoms. It felt like a small miracle. Last night for dinner, I made macaroni and cheese – I used a white rice flour noodle, lactose free milk and hard cheddar cheese to help, but I had no problems with it. I paired it with a healthy serving of brussel sprouts and tomatoes and felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.

This week, I’ve been given the go-ahead to add back fermented foods, including yogurt and fermented veggies, and given a probiotic to try. I’m giving myself a month to try the yogurt and fermented foods first, following the same slow add-in protocol, then if that’s successful I’ll try the probiotic. I really missed yogurt and had a dollop atop my gluten-free french toast and berries two days ago – no ill effects.

I’m still using Biogest before heavy protein meals (usually just lunch and dinner), but I think I’ll start to wean off of those, too (I recently went to a Thai place with my husband and had forgotten my Biogest – I was fine). I still use magnesium at bedtime to help with motility, and I still get visceral manipulation monthly. Besides watching my diet, those are the last pieces still in place of my sibo protocol. So far, I really feel like I’m on the path to long-term healing.

All of our bodies are different, but mine has been able to heal through the consistency of this program. It’s not been easy, and I’ve just gotten used to creating all kinds of complicated orders at restaurants and bringing my own food to parties – but I’ve learned to honor what my body needs, so those things are really no big deal, not to me anyway (other people feel bad for me, I’ve noticed, but I’m just glad this is the most of my problem right now, AND I have a solution). I believe in this program. And I know we’re all different, so what works for me might not work for you, but I’ve found relief with this protocol and with staying the course. I hope you all get the relief you’re seeking, too!

17 Comments on “Sibo Update #8 : It keeps getting better”

  1. Im so glad you are doing better. That is great to hear. Sounds like you have a plan that is working for well for you. Now, I didnt really have an issue with FODMAPS the whole time I was dealing with SIBO and I never had a motility issue. It is so strange how different experiences with SIBO and other digestive disorders can be. I finally started feeling better after 6 rounds of antibiotics and a strict diet over the course of 1.5 years (I used GAPS, but mainly just a low-carb paleo and some FODMAPS removed) but I wasn’t completely healed and still felt bloated and unwell a lot and especially if I deviated from the diet slightly. Then I did a course of antifungals for Candida that virtually remove my bloated belly once and for all. But, I still didnt feel healed. I still had brain fog and was exhausted, among other things. After more research and tests, I discovered I have Histamine Intolerance (that’s been going on for years without me realizing it). This can go hand and hand with digestive disorders, but is not on many doctors radar at this time. As soon as I removed high histamine foods and took a medication my doctor gave me, my brain fog lifted and energy was restored. I still fluctuate a bit with Histamine symptoms and my energy, but, like you said, these things take time. I feel really good about where Im at right now after years of discomfort and I know things are only going to get better. I wish the same for you.

  2. This is great to read for someone who has been diagnosed with SIBO. Thank you so much for posting. I noticed on SIBO Post #7 you showed that alcohol was one of the drinks you “limited”. If you don’t mind, I am hoping to understand what you found to work in terms of a balance between complete abstinence and some consumption. Also, did you find that it was the amount in one sitting (i.e. 2+ drinks of “x” in one sitting) or frequency (i.e. 1 drink for 3 days in a row) that set off symptoms? Alcohol seems to be the one thing I have the most difficulty completely eliminating. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jack, great question – the answer is both. Both amount and frequency definitely were a factor, with alcohol but also when I was adding back in high-fodmap foods. I noticed I could have two-three drinks per week, spread out over a week, and if I had more than one in a night or two nights of drinking in a row, I’d pay for it. Luckily, I was a light drinker to begin with. I had to give up beer (which I love), and switched mostly to neat whiskey and sometimes a red wine. When I’d get creative, I’d make an old fashioned with maple syrup, which is divine 🙂 Good luck!

  3. I have been dealing with SIBO for over a while now. Your posts have encouraged me a lot to believe that just maybe there is an end to this. It is a LONG process. I’m currently doing a 4 week rotation of herbal antibiotics which I chose over allopathic meds since I think post-surgical antibiotics started the problem. However, after reading about your journey, I feel more willing to consider taking antibiotics if these herbs don’t make a big difference. I have a lovely ND who gave me both choices. She put me on the SCD diet which I am not enjoying and really not feeling better on, so I may try the low FODMAP diet as well. I’m vegan, so taking away those foods is a big deal for me 🙁 I need to get well so I can eat again!

    Anyway, thanks for writing everything for us to read and draw from. It’s awesome that you’re feeling so much better!

  4. I am wondering how much your ND in Seattle charges for apps? My insurance doesn’t cover NDs and I live across the water from Seattle in a tiny town by Bainbridge island. I have many years of anorexia and laxative abuse under my belt and even tho i have recovered from that (by the grace of God!) I am still majorly struggling 15 months later. I cannot lose a pound despite a mm organic paleo diet that is free of all triggers dairy gluten soy almonds and garlic. I have terrible edema (have u heard of this!! Just water retention that I cannot get to go away… No matter how much I try… I have tried every natural remedy known to man, and I even have to take a half tablet of a diuretic from my doctor every day to even get through the day ) I get extremely bloated, and I swell in the face every single day No matter what I do. I exercise every day, go to bed early, do coffee enemas, take tons of gut healing supplements, eat super foods every day including spirulina/chorella/camucamu, dandelion, maca, vitex etc etc. nothing has helped me… I have been literally the exact same weight and say measurements for 15 months now… I have irregular periods… And I just really don’t know what to do. I have been told by various doctors that I probably have adrenal fatigue, which would be a no brainier…but now I am suspecting SIB y but now I am suspecting SiBO. I’m scared, terrified actually, because I’m afraid that I will never get this weight off or stop the swelling… I don’t care how I have to eat, I don’t care what I have to do, I just don’t want to live that sway for the rest of my life. I was planning on starting a herbal regimen with my Chinese medicine doctor to heal my adrenals thyroid kidneys and liver over the next four months… Will this be a waste of my time? If I do have SIBO, Will this treatment be a waste of my money? Im so scared. I’ve spent all my savings. I’m only 23 and am so broke due to all this. People call me a hypochondriac and ridiculous. I just want to get my body back. And stop the intense swelling daily. Do you think this even sounds like sibo? I know you can’t diagnose and I’m not asking for that… I just am trying to figure out from people who may have had similar experiences. The only symptoms that I have our total body edema, and bloating after some meals… I don’t have diarrhea, I don’t have constipation, however I do have to have A small 4 to 6 ounce cup of coffee to produce a bowel movement in the morning. I don’t really know what other symptoms I have, except just extreme weight resistance… Which I don’t know if it has to do with thyroid, adrenal’s, or this.

    If there’s anything that you could tell me, I would greatly appreciate it as I feel like I’m drowning

    Thank you so much in advance to whoever comments on this post

    1. Hi Tina, I’m not sure how much my ND charges, but you can find out on her website, Puget Sound Integrative Medicine (just google it). It sounds like having someone really knowledgeable help to guide you would be helpful, considering all the various things going on. I got myself in a lot of trouble when I just tried to throw a bunch of stuff at my symptoms – getting solid guidance is what really helped for me, but I had to shop around to various ND’s before I found the right one. Good luck and blessings!

  5. Good work! I took my first course of Rifaxamin in spring of 2014 and it took about a year for my stomach to return to normal but it did get there (honestly, 100% and eating lots of forbidden foods without problems). Unfortunately I got some food poisoning this last July and I’m back to square one, day three of a new course of Rifaxamin and feeling awful enough to browse the Internet for comfort (I’m hoping it’s just a die-off reaction though I didn’t experience it the first time). Be careful about where you eat! Dr. Pimentel says we’re more susceptible to developing post-infectious motility problems after the first bout of SIBO and I’m experiencing it first hand… Hopefully I caught it early enough so it doesn’t take another year to recover. Good luck!

    1. Hi Jeffrey – exactly, I worry about that, too! Sorry you had a relapse and I hope it passes quickly. Your body certainly knows how to heal this, so I hope it can do so quickly. Best of luck!

  6. So glad to read that you are feeling well, that the protocol worked! I am being treated for SIBO (14 weeks of herbal antibiotics this spring) and I’m getting discouraged with the FODMAPs diet. BTW, my list of foods must be different than yours. I’ve been following a list given to me by my ND, the Dr. Siebecker list. I was excited to try some of your recipes, especially the muffins made with bananas even though almonds are not allowed on my list. I tried it anyway. (I’ve been on the diet for almost a year. I found the diet, tried it, then was certain I had SIBO, which I did.) The muffins were fine the first day, but I now believe that I should have a muffin every third or fourth day instead of every day. I’ve struggled with diarrhea whenever something new is introduced, but after reading this post, I will give myself more time. Patience pays off! So glad to see this story has a happy ending!

  7. I am on week 4 of the Anti Sibo Diet after my 8 weeks of die off and the tincture of death. My IBS was so bad that I couldn’t even be in a car for longer than 15 minutes without stopping. This protocol has been life changing for me. My ND says the way i’m progressing I can start introducing moderate FODMAP between 6-8 weeks. I miss garlic , onions and avocado most of all but have found the balance with Alcohol.. it’s called Gin. I found I can have 2-3 no problem just not every day of course.

    My Question is:

    How did you make it for as many months as you have without onions and garlic? It’s in everything and the base of flavour! I find I can’t go for dinner specifically for this reason.

    1. For me, it was a matter of how I wanted to feel. It was easy to give up onions and garlic because I knew it was only temporary, and because of how terrible they made me feel. I just had to make a choice. It was challenging to eat out, of course, but I found things to eat like salads with olive oil and lemon juice, or a mixture of ala cart items. I loved places that served breakfast all day, because I could always eat eggs and veggies.

  8. Happy you are feeling better. I have been suffering with horrible stomach pains for 8 years. Going to all sorts of Drs and NPs. None of them helped me, diagnosing me with endometriosis, Lyme disease, and just really bad PMS. Finally the last Gastro Dr made me take the SIBO test, granted I had never heard of it…all the research I was doing in horrible stomach pains and back pains..nothing about SIBO popped up until he told me I had severe SIBO. I did 2 rounds of antibiotics and am now still suffering from the pains. It had gotten so bad that TMI having sex was painful. Just wondering if anyone is brave enough to admit to having these same type of symptoms? Also these pains went away a few days before my period and during my period. Hoping that I can have some relief and beat this. Just got married in July and wanted to start a family in the New Year but terrified with these issues. Just wondered if I’m alone in my symptoms.

  9. Did you do any of the gaps .. specifically bone broth? I have also done fmt which was amazing. Once I had it endoscopically in my small intestine and for three weeks I could eat anything. Which was exciting and depressing at the same time. I can completely see my SIBO by how puffy my eyes are in the morning. If they are totally normal .. it’s all going down the hatch fine, if they are puffy and small and take hours to go back to normal them I know it’s not good. The fmt in the small changed it overnight. I enjoyed reading your blog and well done for the discipline.

    1. Hi Holly, I did not do the gaps diet, but bone broth was recommended by my doctor and included in the low fodmap protocol. The bone broth was great for reducing inflammation – whenever I feel inflammation coming on, I make some bone broth!

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