The body is made up of many things, one of which being bacteria. Although it often gets a bad reputation, bacteria can be grouped into two different categories — good (healthy) bacteria and bad (unhealthy) bacteria. Believe it or not, both good and bad bacteria are essential to our health.
In fact, the body has a unique way of maintaining a balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria and a majority of it occurs in the gut. This balance generally goes undisturbed and uninterrupted, allowing you to live a life free of any symptoms — the type of life we all desire.
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to maintain that balance. When there are too many bad bacteria in the body, it can create a number of unwanted symptoms and even lead to a number of health concerns. Don’t worry, I’m going to break down everything you need to know!
What Is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, also known as SIBO, is a condition where bacteria levels in the small intestine grow excessively high. Among this general rise in bacteria is a rise in bad bacteria, including dangerous types and types that aren’t normally housed in the small intestine.
SIBO is generally caused by the slow passage of food and waste through the digestive system, creating an ideal environment for bacteria growth. As the levels of bad bacteria rise, they produce dangerous toxins that result in a number of SIBO symptoms — which I’ll detail below:
- Abdominal Pain
- Diarrhea & Constipation
- Nausea & Upset Stomach
- Fullness After Eating
- Loss of Appetite
- Bloating & Gas
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Malnutrition & Poor Diet
In order to properly diagnose small intestine bacterial overgrowth, your doctor will perform several labs and tests, including a breath test and possible blood work, urinalysis, and stool culture. Once the diagnosis is made, the doctor creates a unique treatment plan for each patient.
Think you have SIBO? Take our quiz to get more information.
The treatment plan may consist of antibiotics, but the main goal of treatment is to correct the underlying problem. Your doctor will also work with you in taking the right supplements and eating the right foods to help reduce and prevent bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine.
Read more: When to Get Tested for SIBO
What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?
Chronic inflammatory response syndrome, also known as CIRS, is a condition where the body is exposed to a variety of biotoxins that result in ongoing inflammation in the body. It’s often referred to as mold biotoxin illness with one of the leading causes being exposure to toxic mold.
Read more: The Root Cause of Chronic Inflammation
Other causes of CIRS include tick bites and exposure to dinoflagellates. When biotoxins enter the body, they target immune cells, latch on, and don’t let go. The immune cells respond by producing cytokines, leading to an overworked system and an excess immune response.
Some of the symptoms of CIRS include:
- Decreased Assimilation of New Knowledge
- Sensitivity to Light
- Impaired Memory
- Difficulty Finding Words
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Joint Pain
- Morning Stiffness
- Skin Sensitivity
- Tingling Sensations
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Congestion
- Excessive Thirst
- Appetite Swings
- Difficulty Regulating Body Temperature
- Increased Urinary Frequency
- Red Eyes
- Blurred Vision
- Mood Swings
- Ice-Pick Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Water Eyes
- Metallic Taste in Mouth
- Static Shocks
In order to diagnose chronic inflammatory response syndrome, your doctor will perform a number of tests and exams to analyze your current health, but will also want to have the patient’s home inspected for mold. They’ll also ask a variety of questions about your lifestyle.
Treatment generally involves eliminating mold exposure and removing the biotoxins and MARCoNS from the body. Your doctor will also correct any inconsistencies or concerns found in your lab work. This will involve medication, diet and exercise, and other lifestyle changes.
Read more: How Mold Affects Your Immune System
Are SIBO and CIRS Connected?
At first glance, you might think chronic inflammatory response syndrome and small bowel bacterial overgrowth have nothing to do with one another — but they do. In fact, CIRS is known to be one of the causes of SIBO, especially if not detected, diagnosed, or treated properly.
We learned above that CIRS is characterized by chronic inflammation and is generally caused by toxic exposure to mold. This inflammation and exposure to biotoxins create an unwanted domino effect of symptoms in the human body, many of which were highlighted earlier.
In regards to SIBO, the inflammation from CIRS is known to slow the migrating motor complex (MMC), which is responsible for pushing food and waste through the gastrointestinal tract. When this process is slowed, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in –thus causing SIBO.
Not only that, but SIBO and CIRS share some of the same digestive symptoms — including bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, heartburn, and interstitial cystitis. It’s important that your doctor takes both into consideration when a patient is showing any of those symptoms.
Are You Experiencing SIBO or CIRS? Contact Me!
Living with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), mold biotoxin illness, or both can be a lot to handle. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll it has on your day-to-day life can eliminate any sense of quality you have in your life — which can deplete your will and desire.
As a functional medicine doctor, I’m dedicated and committed to helping patients live a happier, healthier, and more rewarding lifestyle — especially when things aren’t going so well. Whether you need help creating a known condition or diagnosing one, I’m ready and willing to assist you.
In terms of SIBO and CIRS, I’ve helped a number of patients overcome and find relief from symptoms — as well as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. I understand how stressful this condition can be and I want to ensure every patient has access to a quality, reliable, safe, and effective treatment plan from a trusted professional.
If you’d like to learn more about these two conditions and how they’re related, want to discuss some of your symptoms, or would simply like a checkup, don’t hesitate to contact me right away. I’m honored to serve you and your family with best-in-class functional medicine care.
Reach out to us today to schedule your free 15-minute consultation!
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