Painful swelling, bloating, gas, and indigestion along with constipation or diarrhea are all issues associated with a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) They can be a result of overeating during the holidays. It can be broken further into other categories like irritable bowel syndrome with constipation or diarrhea and include Crohn’s/inflammatory bowel disorder. SIBO, for short, is a very common condition that may lead to food sensitivities, allergies, neurological symptoms and auto-immune conditions. Hypothyroidism, Psoriasis, Eczema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and various rheumatological/arthritis issues have all been linked to SIBO and specific bacterial infections leading to these conditions.

SIBO is an over growth of “beneficial or non-beneficial” bacteria in the small intestine. Risks factors that lead to SIBO are: Low stomach acid (from acid reducing drugs), irritable bowel, high simple carbohydrate diet, diabetes, antibiotic usage, food reactions, over indulgence of food and alcohol, chronic stress and contraceptive use. Many people suffer daily from SIBO and diagnosing the condition can be done with a simple history. There are a few tests available that look for methane and lactose absorption which may demonstrate changes in intestinal permeability (Leaky gut). Although they are not considered a gold standard for diagnosing the condition. Theses test are occasionally ran to suspect SIBO if there are no overt gut symptoms yet there are systemic autoimmune related conditions that you may be suffering from.

Medical management from a knowledgable provider involves antibiotics for killing off the bacteria and more antibiotics to increase motility of the digestive tract in cases of constipation. These are of benefit IF the patient has failed all herbal and functional medicine based treatments. The current state of research clearly states those facts.  Diet changes including specific dietary care plans such as FODMAPS and SCD plans, specific herbal antimicrobials/fungals/parasitics, probiotics, prebiotics, motility enhancing herbal supplements, and gut healing products are all needed to rid the intestinal tract of the bacteria and heal the lining of the digestive system. 

A majority of the cases I see at my clinics that present with SIBO-C or SIBO-D respond in a short time frame with using the herbal/dietary protocols. Each patient is different and their plan needs to be specific to their needs and symptom based patterns. Some have more advanced chronic auto-immune issues such as thyroid, skin, and brain/nervous system disorders. The overall rate at which a person responds varies but most have a major relief of symptoms within a few weeks yet need long term six to nine months of continued care to get complete resolve. Those results are typical of both pharmaceutical and functional medicine based intervention. If you or someone you know suffers from bloating or indigestion call and make an appointment. We may be able to help. 

Dr. Bailey will be speaking at the Kroc Center in April on Digestive Disorders. Check the Kroc Center guide for details


Dr. Jerry Bailey is a Chiropractic Physician, Certified Acupuncturist and a Functional Medicine provider. He has a Masters of Science degree in Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He is also a
professor of Neuro-Endocrinology at the University of Western States in the Masters of Science in Nutrition and Functional Medicine program. Dr. Bailey works with patients on their health issues including IBS, Crohn’s, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hormone imbalances, stress, fatigue, chronic pain/fibromyalgia, headaches along with back pain, neck pain and arm/leg pain.