I see a lot of patients coming in with fatigue and digestive issues, but no clue that they could be linked. Not every person with fatigue and digestive issues has underlying SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), but this is something I am constantly screening patients for and trying to educate my patients on!
Many people are aware of the role of the thyroid, adrenals, blood sugar and poor sleep on fatigue. However, I find very few patients have heard of SIBO or are aware of its role in chronic fatigue. Especially in the chronic fatigue syndrome population, this condition has often wreaked havoc on their system for many years before symptoms are diagnosed.
WHAT IS SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where there is an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the small intestine. We call this imbalance of good and bad bacteria "dysbiosis”. This overgrowth of “bad” pathogenic bacteria that can cause inflammation in the small intestine with a host of other symptoms.
Non-digestive symptoms of SIBO may include:
Many patients ask what key symptoms I look for when investigating whether or not they may have SIBO. These are the key symptoms I look for in my patients:
1. Bloating to the point of looking "9 months pregnant"
2. Diarrhea, constipation or both (IBS-like symptoms)
3. I just can't figure out which foods are triggering my digestive issues!
4. I have had stubborn acne or rosacea for years, and it never goes away
5. I have itchy skin or hives
6. Brain fog, like I'm "living in a cloud"
TESTING & DIAGNOSIS:
We can test for SIBO using a test called the “lactulose/glucose breath test”. This test requires patients to drink a sugar-like formula and then measures the “gas” produced by the body via a breath test. I will run this test with patients who really want to get to the bottom of their fatigue and digestive issues — this is the best way to diagnose SIBO.
If you have fatigue and chronic digestive or skin issues, you may have underlying SIBO. Until this dysbiosis is addressed as part of the SIBO diagnosis, these symptoms will only continue. I always love talking with people about SIBO, so if you are worried this could be you let's have a chat about it! I offer free consults to anyone wanting to learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help them.
My passion is to help people get to a place where they feel like they are “thriving” in their life. So let's talk about ways we can get you there together!