Through her own fight with chronic GI symptoms, Allison Siebecker, ND, MSOM, Lac, has become a crucial pioneer for SIBO awareness and treatment. SIBO is caused by a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. The bacteria interfere with digestion and absorption of food, release gases into the body, spread into the blood stream and can even cause food allergies. The main symptoms resulting from these conditions are abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue, and body pain. More information about SIBO can be found on Dr. Siebecker’s website.
So, what is the proper way to diagnose SIBO and how do you prevent it from relapsing?
-The Truth Behind Breath Testing
There is no perfect way to test for SIBO, but the Hydrogen Breath Test is a non-invasive test that Dr. Siebecker uses because of its consistent results. The breath test measures both hydrogen and methane, which are gases produced by bacteria and not humans. Dr. Siebecker points out that breath testing is important because it identifies what type and how much gas is being produced by the bacteria, which aids her in educating her patients on the proper treatment necessary.
-The Good and Bad of Prokinetics
Dr. Siebecker advises her patients to take prokinetics as a prevention factor, as SIBO often relapses once antibiotics stop. Prokinetics are essential in treating the root cause of SIBO, which is thought to be the deficiency of motility in the small intestine known as migrating motor complex (MMS). The prokinetics at a low dose ensure the bacteria will properly move down from the small intestine and into the large intestine. Dr. Siebeker discusses that although there can be some side effects, such as prolonging QT waves or interacting with other medications, prokinetics at a low dosage have proven to work quite well for her patients in preventing the return of SIBO. On her website, Dr. Siebecker includes the prokinetics she commonly uses as well as the recommended dosages.
-The Power of Lab Tests & Retesting
Dr. Siebeker is a huge advocate of lab testing and RETESTING for patients with SIBO, especially those with chronic symptoms. In order to see a difference in test results it is imperative to have a baseline of gas production for a patient and then retest to see if the treatment is working appropriately. Many times a patient may not notice a decrease in their symptoms, but will see a dramatic decrease in the amount of gas being produced in-between rounds of treatments. Retesting also gives patients concrete proof of effective treatment and may serve as motivation to continue with treatments. Dr. Siebecker was also excited to announce a new lab test for SIBO is coming out soon, so be sure to check her website for updates or join her newsletter.By: Haley Tessaro