Brake for Nature

SIBO Treatments – Two Years and Counting

I have been working on getting rid of SIBO for nearly two years now, and I’ve progressed and regressed many times. The whole thing is quite frustrating, and it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook and have hope that I will be healthy again one day. I have attempted many treatments and spent a lot of time researching treatments. I figure all of my effort should be put to use somehow, so I have decided to share the details of my treatments as widely as possible. Perhaps my story will provide useful information to a healthcare practitioner or researcher. At the very least, I hope that others who are dealing with SIBO will benefit from reading my story. Remember, everyone is different, and if you have SIBO, your story will likely be different from mine. Nevertheless, sharing helps.

Please keep in mind, SIBO occurs in the gut, so I will be talking frankly about things that go on in and come out of the gut.

I have to catch you up on a couple of years, so this post is a long one! Here it goes…

Treatment 1 – Traditional Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics

The doctor who diagnosed me first prescribed a 14-day course of alternating ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and metronidazole (Flagyl). I no longer recall the strength of each dose, but I took Cipro one day and Flagyl the next for 14 days. On my first day of Cipro, I got a headache and felt very fatigued. I was nervous about the black box warning on the Cipro label. Rupture of the Achilles tendon is all too close to the plantar fasciitis problem I already had. I decided to lie low for the course of antibiotics and avoid putting strain on my muscles and tendons.

During the two-week course of antibiotics, my bloating was reduced by about half, and I experienced a big improvement in ease of urination. With all the bloating and pressure in my abdomen, I was also having urination problems. I had to go often, and the stream was slow and thin. During the course of these antibiotics, urination became normal again. Then, right at the end, I felt like the clouds in my brain had parted, and I could see and think clearly again. I was excited! Maybe this was working!

I did experience side effects on this treatment. Unfortunately I seemed to be allergic to at least one of the antibiotics, though it was hard to know which one since I was taking two of them. I broke out in an itchy, stingy rash on my torso, legs, and feet. The stinging on the bottoms of my feet would wake me up at night, and I could see the raised pink spots on my feet. I pushed through for about 10 days before I called the doctor, and she told me to stop the Cipro and finish the Flagyl, which I did. This allergic reaction did not disappear until a few days after I finished the Flagyl, so I could have been allergic to the Flagyl after all.

The other problem was that I seemed to be more constipated than before the antibiotics. This was a typical response for my body to antibiotics. During and after the antibiotics, things seemed to just dry up (yes, I did say that I will be talking frankly about poop – it’s important!). After about five days, I gave in and took some milk of magnesia. It took two doses over two days to get things moving, but when they did, it felt like I had awakened the SIBO monster! My belly blew up, and the aches and pains of gas trapped in my small intestine returned. Back to the days of waking up at 3 am feeling like I have an animal fighting to get out of my gut. Before I knew about SIBO, this feeling was TERRIFYING!


I had educated myself on SIBO, and so I decided to follow up the antibiotics with the introductory phase of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (based on Elaine Gottschall’s book called Breaking the Viscous Cycle.) Starving the bacteria after bombing them made sense to me. I cooked up some chicken soup and beef burgers and ate only that along with grape juice (an easily absorbable source of glucose for energy) for the first 4-5 days after the antibiotics. I felt a bit dizzy and sluggish, like I needed more carbs, but I was bent on starving those bastards! I introduced carrots and spinach, and slowly expanded my diet but only ate low FODMAP foods that are also allowed by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (generally, foods that are less effective at feeding gut bacteria).

A typical dinner on the SIBO Diet - chicken and summer squash with boiled egg on top

A typical dinner on the SIBO Diet

After a few months on this diet, I dropped about 15 pounds, weight that I did not need to lose. I felt like a bag of bones with a giant, swollen belly in the middle. I would see stars and nearly black out when standing up after bending over. It was hard for me to get myself out of chairs. I was out of breath going up steps. Bloodwork showed that I had low T3 (one of the thyroid hormones, the more active hormone), and my doctor said that I was not converting T4 to T3.

I turned to Google again, and after some research learned that if you eat a very low carbohydrate diet, your body stops converting T4 to T3 to save on energy. While I don’t know for sure if this was the reason for my fatigue and lightheadedness, I chose to follow the advice from Dr. Siebecker’s SIBO Diet and added white rice back into my diet. She recommended white rice for those in danger of being underweight. I also figured that since my stool test showed that I was not absorbing fats properly, I may not have been able to get adequate energy from the fats, and therefore I needed more carbs.  It took at least two to three months of eating white rice before I returned to normal, or at least my pre-diet normal. I don’t regret trying the strictest form of the diet. I want to get rid of SIBO and get my life back, and I’m willing to try all the reasonable approaches. However, I learned just how much a restricted diet can affect the functions of the body, especially when the body is not in a healthy state.

Treatment 2 – FC-Cidal and Dysbiocide

I came across some published research that showed certain herbal antibiotic treatments to be as effective as the leading pharmaceutical antibiotic for SIBO (rifaximin) (see publication here). With the approval of my doctor, I decided to give one of those treatments a try. I chose FC-Cidal and Dysbiocide. I took the dosage used by the researchers for four weeks. At this point, I was so bloated so high up in my intestines that I had trouble swallowing the capsules. My husband seemed to think I had some kind of mental hang-up with swallowing pills, but now that I have made some progress reducing the gases in the upper portion of my small intestine, I no longer have so much trouble swallowing pills! It really is incredible what gases in the small intestine can do to the body. Unfortunately, at the end of four weeks, there was no improvement.

Herbal protocol plus breakfast of low Fodmap fruits and zucchini-almond flour bread

Herbal protocol plus breakfast of low Fodmap fruits and zucchini-almond flour bread

Treatment 3 – Allimed and Neem Plus

By this point, I had joined the SIBO Discussion Group on Facebook and watched the entirety of the 2015 SIBO Symposium at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) via webinar. I had learned all the latest information on the causes of SIBO and effective treatments. On the Facebook group someone had posted some of the latest herbal treatments used at the SIBO Center located at NUNM. This one (Allimed and Neem Plus) had a little note below it that said the SIBO Center doctors “claim it will drop methane by 40-50 ppm in 20-30 days.” Clearly this was the treatment I had to try next!

This was the first treatment that seemed to start reducing my upper gastrointestinal symptoms, including the belching, difficulty swallowing pills, and feeling full after my first bite of food. However, I was yet again more constipated than before I started the treatment. It’s a catch-22. Methane slows transit and causes constipation, and killing my gut flora with antibiotics and antimicrobial herbs seems to cause constipation!

Unfortunately I did not do a follow-up lactulose breath test after any of the above treatments, so I have no objective way of measuring the results of these treatments. I just knew based on my symptoms that I was not yet better.

I finished this treatment in August of 2015 and then waited all the way until December for my trip to Portland, Oregon to see Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis at the SIBO Center in the NUNM Clinic before trying any other treatments. All that time allowed the bacteria to multiply again, and my next lactulose breath test in January 2016 peaked at 112 ppm of methane!!

Treatment 4 – SIBO Center’s Latest Herbal Protocol

My husband and I made a quick trip to Portland in December of 2015 so that I could see Dr. Sandberg-Lewis at the SIBO Center at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM). Dr. Sandberg-Lewis gave me a couple of options to try next. Since rifaximin (the pharmaceutical antibiotic most widely used to treat SIBO) was out of my price range (~$1,500 for a two-week course unless you are lucky enough to have insurance that will cover it), I opted for the herbal protocol. This protocol included Allimed, Neem Plus, ADP (a brand of oregano oil), and berberine. I also took NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), which has been studied as a biofilm disrupter (bacteria produce what are known as “biofilms” to protect themselves, and antibiotics may not always work because bacteria are protected in these biofilms). Dr. Sandberg-Lewis recommended some other supplements as well, so I ended up popping a LOT of pills for a couple of months. This was the first treatment that started significantly reducing my bloating and relieved my methane-induced constipation.

The bottles of all the pills I was popping on the SIBO Center herbal protocol

Based on my symptoms, I knew that I was not SIBO-free. I was consulting with Dr. Sandberg-Lewis during his mentor shift (working with his students) by phone after my initial in-person visit in Portland. He and his students suggested I try the elemental diet next.

Treatment 5 – Elemental Diet

In April of 2016, one year after I was diagnosed with SIBO, I took on the most challenging and one of the most effective treatments for SIBO: the elemental diet. Imagine drinking what a patient on life-support might be given through an IV to keep them alive. This sums up the elemental diet. The idea is to feed the body the most basic elements it needs that can be absorbed readily by the small intestine while starving the bacteria. Bacteria help us break down a lot of our food, but if we feed ourselves food that has already been broken down into the essential components, the bacteria will starve, and our bodies will be fed.

I chose the homemade version of the elemental diet, both because it is cheaper, and because I could choose the source of the ingredients. I followed Dr. Allison Siebecker’s recipe for the homemade elemental diet. Dr. Sandberg-Lewis recommended that I also include one serving of meat each day.

Homemade Elemental Diet Ingredients - coconut oil, amino acids, sea salt, and dextrose powder

Homemade Elemental Diet Ingredients

On Day One I attempted to blend all the ingredients together for breakfast. I chose to follow the high fat version, since I figured I was eating a higher fat and lower carbohydrate diet already while following the SIBO diet. I dumped water, two tablespoons of the terribly stinky amino acids, five tablespoons of dextrose, and three tablespoons of coconut oil along with some salt into my blender and mixed. As you probably know, water and oil don’t mix. I have no idea how others are making shakes out of this stuff, but I wound up with water mixed with some of the amino acids and dextrose, and a layer of whipped topping that included coconut oil mixed with amino acids and dextrose. I took a few sips. At first I tasted the warm coconut flavor and the sweetness of the dextrose and thought it wasn’t too bad. Then I had to eat a spoonful of the whipped topping. I gagged! The sulfur-smelling amino acids had gotten stuck in the coconut oil and turned it into a nasty experience. About an hour later, I threw up!

After consulting my “SIBO friends” on the SIBO Discussion Group on Facebook, I ditched the blended drink idea and “ate” the ingredients separately. I stirred the amino acids with a couple tablespoons of the dextrose and some sea salt into water and drank it down quickly through a straw. Still disgusting!! However, I could get it down faster and then immediately eat a teaspoon of honey with sea salt sprinkled on top to erase the taste of the amino acids. Honey is another option for carbohydrates in the homemade elemental diet recipe. I was concerned about the fructose content of the honey, so I mostly used dextrose and just ate a teaspoon of honey to mask the taste of the amino acids. I then poured a few tablespoons of olive oil into a cup and sprinkled some sea salt on top and ate that with a spoon. I followed all this up with a cup of dextrose tea (dextrose mixed with hot water).

I continued with this method and counted calories from the dextrose and oil to ensure that I got enough calories to survive. However, it was very hard for me to drink enough dextrose tea to get the energy I needed, because it was so sickeningly sweet. I also learned the hard way that my body could not absorb much of the oil (I began to have diarrhea multiple times per day). I was weak and hungry, and I felt like I had the flu the entire time. I was extremely bloated, I was constantly belching, and my stomach was burning. I looked forward to my one serving of meat each night, something satisfying to chew on, but I often didn’t feel so well afterward.

I made it to Day 17 (I was shooting for three weeks), and after consulting with the doctor about the violent acid reflux I was experiencing on a daily basis, the doctor recommended that I stop and start introducing some soft cooked vegetables. That helped. A few days after eating real food again, the acid reflux calmed down.

I noticed a difference after this treatment. Eating felt a little more normal. Instead of feeling like my stomach blew up after a couple of bites, the bloating came later and not as much. I decided to do another lactulose breath test after this treatment, and my methane peaked at 55 ppm, down from 112 ppm.

Treatment 6 – Atrantil

Since I still had an overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine, I needed to keep treating or it would just multiply – something bacteria do well – and I would be right back to where I started. This time my doctor suggested I try a new herbal concoction developed by a gastroenterologist out of Texas specifically for the methane-type SIBO called Atrantil. I ordered a couple of bottles and took two capsules three times per day for 20 days. After that I was supposed to take one capsule three times per day for a month.

During the first 20 days, I became even more bloated than usual. This could be a symptom of die-off (a worsening of symptoms as the bacteria die). However, I experienced no improvements by Day 20, so I chose to start another round (one month) of the “SIBO Center Herbal Protocol” (Allimed, ADP, Neem Plus, and berberine), which I knew at least reduced the bloating.

Although I felt like my digestive symptoms had improved since I was first diagnosed with SIBO, a follow-up lactulose breath test in June 2016 showed that my methane peaked at 91 ppm, up from the 55 ppm after the elemental diet. That was very disappointing.

Treatment 7 – Elemental Diet – Round 2

After a couple of months of other life distractions that I will save for another story at another time, I attempted another round of the elemental diet for two weeks in late August/early September of 2016. I was expecting a repeat of my experience during Round 1 of the elemental diet, so I chose to limit the diet to two weeks. This time Michael and I had started our travels, so I had to choose a good spot to park our travel trailer and hang out for two weeks. You can read my story on Round 2 of the elemental diet while traveling here.

Since we were traveling near Portland, Oregon, I made an in-person appointment with my doctor after the elemental diet. He gave me a “spot breath test,” meaning a baseline reading of my methane levels without the lactulose solution. Although not completely comparable to my other tests, we could at least find out whether I was still producing methane and generally whether it was low or high. This breath test came out at 32 ppm. That means I probably reduced the bacteria load since the last breath test, but I hadn’t progressed all that much since Round 1 of the elemental diet. It was time to try the pharmaceuticals.

Treatment 8 – Rifaximin and Neomycin

I finally managed to get my hands on two weeks worth of rifaximin, a very expensive antibiotic that works especially well for SIBO. Rifaximin stays in the gut unlike many other antibiotics that get absorbed into the bloodstream and kill flora throughout the body. Rifaximin has also been found to have a much lower risk of causing antibiotic-resistant infections than other antibiotics. These two characteristics make it a great choice for tackling bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Unfortunately the methanogens are not affected by rifaximin, but for some reason when it is combined with an older antibiotic called neomycin (which also stays mostly in the gut), the combo is effective at killing methanogens.

I had not yet tried this treatment for two reasons. The first is that rifaximin is crazy expensive. The second is that I have heard stories about irreversible side effects from neomycin, such as permanent ringing in the ears or hearing loss. I figured I would save myself some money and try to get rid of SIBO with more natural treatments that have fewer side effects. However, after a year and a half of treatments, when I finally managed to get rifaximin at a reasonable price, I decided it was time to take the risk and try it.

I had learned from the 2015 SIBO Symposium that these antibiotics work best when the bacteria are actively metabolizing rather than when they are dormant and protecting themselves. That means feeding them their favorite foods makes the antibiotics more effective. I fully embraced this recommendation and enjoyed foods that had been off my list for a year and a half. I started with a pizza the night before my first day of antibiotics. I also enjoyed some healthier foods that I have not been able to eat for a long time like oatmeal, onions, and garlic.

Extravaganza pizza on a red and white checkered tablecloth with a glass of beer and glass of red wine at Gordy's

Feeding and killing made me extremely bloated, even by the end of the two-week course of antibiotics. Some other symptoms worsened too. For example, I had a lot of pressure in my head, making my eyes feel even more swollen than usual and my ears pop as if I were going up and down in elevation. Other than that, I did not experience any side effects. I did have to take the neomycin with food to avoid nausea.

I asked my doctor for another lactulose breath test to find out whether these drugs were worth the expense and risks. This time there was a big change! I peaked at 34 ppm of methane and 89 ppm of hydrogen! This may sound terrible, but I had learned from the SIBO Symposium that when a treatment is effective at killing the methanogens, you end up with lots of hydrogen, because the methanogens make methane from the hydrogen gas produced by the other bacteria. Fewer methanogens means more hydrogen from the other bacteria. Methanogens are the most difficult to kill, and this was the first treatment that was effective at killing them! If I am unable to deal with the remaining overgrowth through other treatments, I will have to find a way to get my hands on more rifaximin!

Treatment 9 – SIBO Center Herbal Protocol with a Biofilm Disrupter

Although the rifaximin and neomycin combo had made a difference, I had to keep treating if I wanted to beat SIBO. This time, my doctor suggested I try a biofilm disrupter along with the herbal protocol that does seem to help me (Allimed, Neem Plus, ADP – oregano oil, and berberine). For two months, I took these herbs along with a biofilm disrupter developed by Klaire Labs called Interfase. Interfase is taken between meals and consists of a bunch of enzymes that break down the biofilm that the bacteria create to protect themselves.

I read reviews online for Interfase Plus, which is the same as Interfase, but it also includes EDTA to bind minerals, preventing the bacteria from using them to create their biofilm structure. I was hesitant about taking something with EDTA. We all need minerals to live! I don’t want to kill myself in the process of trying to kill the bacteria! However, many people said that if taken between meals, it did not bother them. I took the plunge and tried it. I was a different story. Here’s the thing. Our small intestines are still busy absorbing vitamins and minerals from our food in between meals, so it seems to me that the EDTA could still be a problem between meals. For me, it was. I experienced heart palpitations, racing heart, and lightheadedness. Clearly I was deficient in some kind of minerals! Scary! I stopped taking the Interfase Plus and ordered some just plain Interfase. My body returned to normal, thank goodness!

After two months, I felt somewhat less bloated, but I still had symptoms of SIBO. I decided for myself that since bacteria multiply very fast, the only way to beat SIBO is to keep treating until it’s gone. Treating SIBO is a catch-22. We all need bacteria, especially certain strains, in our guts to help us digest food and train and regulate our immune systems, among many other responsibilities. However, I have too much in the wrong place, so I have no choice but to keep killing it if I ever want to improve my health. I planned yet another round of the elemental diet, and then a follow-up breath test. I’ll save that story for another post.

Grandma's Supplements - Fiber-Con, Gas-X, Magnesium, and MiraLax

Grandma’s Supplements – Could my SIBO be genetic?!!

33 thoughts on “SIBO Treatments – Two Years and Counting

  1. Mike

    5 year ibs sufferer, suspect it may infact be sibo. But after spending 4000 dollars trying to find the root of my ibs unsuccessfully I gave up on drs. Tried several home treatments similar to yours, avoiding foods I’m sensitive to as well as the lowmap diet. (Haven’t done essentials yet, I’m very active at work and not sure I can do it) Everything I’ve tried only takes an edge off, at best it makes a bad day a semi tolerable one, but nothing thus far has cured it. Please keep updating your blog on this subject, its nice to know there are others fighting to get there normal lives back. Best of luck!

    1. Christina Post author

      Thanks for your message. I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with this as well. I know exactly what you mean. My treatments have also only really “taken the edge off.” I plan to write another post with an update soon. I haven’t made much progress, but I am planning to see more doctors (hopefully the right ones) to try to get at the root cause of my SIBO. I’m thinking that there may be more to it than just eradicating the SIBO. Good luck to you too! If I learn anything new that really helps, I will definitely share.

  2. Pingback: Health Update - Excerpts From My SIBO Journal | Brake for Nature

  3. Janae

    I truly believe the missing treatment in the SIBO protocol is fecal microbiota transplant. Our disease comes from a lack thereof in both the small and large intestine. Too much bad, not enough good. You mentioned genetics from your grandma, but it’s probably really that you didn’t get good heirloom microbes passed on to you. We are experiencing a grand decimation of our intestinal environment from heavy metals, poisons, and antibiotics.

    1. Christina Post author

      I agree that the human microbiome has been attacked by antibiotics and pollutants, and this could be a contributor to chronic health problems among many people. As a biologist, I find this to be a very interesting topic.

      While I used to believe that this was a major factor for my own health problems, I have since learned some new information that leads me to question this idea. The naturopathic doctor I was previously working with noted that the diversity of bacteria found in my stool sample (from a Genova Diagnostics comprehensive stool test) was extremely high compared to many of his other patients. He said that at least I had that going for me. I now believe that in my case other factors have led to SIBO. I have recently been diagnosed with Lyme and other tick-borne bacteria infections, and I am currently being tested for mold illness. In the case of both illnesses, neurotoxins can affect gut motility, thereby resulting in SIBO.

      My thoughts are that if a person can develop SIBO from an imbalance in the large intestine flora, then a fecal microbial transplant may be a good solution for that person. However, as in the well-researched case of food poisoning causing SIBO, because a neurotoxin and corresponding autoimmune reaction has affected gut motility, the small intestine can continue to be overpopulated by bacteria no matter what types of bacteria are in the large intestine. This type of case seems to require a different solution. This could also be true for SIBO cases caused by other neurotoxins, such as from Lyme bacteria.

      Hopefully there will be more research on all of the potential causes of SIBO. In the meantime, I will continue to experiment on myself, hopefully not at the cost of my supposedly diverse microbiome!

      1. Kristen

        I was diagnosed with Lyme years ago and am just now learning about SIBO. I am pretty sure I’m methane dominant. I’ve read just about every blog and treatment I can get my hands on and this one was pretty helpful. But did you ever find a way to stamp it out? Or is the Lyme bacteria and co-infecitons messing it all up do you think?

        1. Christina Post author

          Hi Kristen,

          By treating SIBO I have learned a lot about how to manage the digestive symptoms (not completely, but much more so than before I knew about SIBO). I can knock down the bacteria load in my gut with a treatment and feel a little better. I also still follow a low-carb, low FODMAP diet. However, I am sure that if I ever want to get rid of SIBO (if that is possible), I have to get to the root of the problem. What is causing the breakdown of my migrating motor complex that allows the bacteria to overgrow in my small intestine? Neurotoxins seem to be at the heart of that breakdown for most people, whether the toxins come from food poisoning, or Lyme Disease, or even mold illness. I am now learning more about mold, and that may be one of my problems as well. Once I get all my current test results back, I will post another update on what may be at the heart of my chronic illness.

          Thank you for reading my story! I hope that you get to the root of your SIBO.

      2. Andrej Matkovic

        I am also dealing with sibo c, although i haven’t done as extreme treatments as you. No elemental diet or antibiotics. I do low fodmap and herbs for killig.

        There was something that helped me big time to get a regular bowel. And that’s partially hydrolised guar gum. It’s also lowfodmap under 5g.

        What happens is that on lowfodmap diet it constipation gets worst due to good bacteria getting starved as well as bad.

        For someone with dysbiosis it’s a bad idea not to feed good bacteria while killing sibo.

        Also you can benefit from dgl to soothe irritated stomach

        1. Christina Post author

          Hi Andrej,

          Thank you for your comment. I have been extremely slow to respond. Between being ill, taking time for treatments, and keeping up with daily life, I just haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like. I appreciate your input. I agree that we do have to find a balance between reducing the total load of bacteria in the small intestine and feeding the bacteria that help us produce stool that is easy to pass. I did recently try hydrolyzed guar gum during a round of rifaximin and neomycin (my doctor insisted that I try this treatment again since it had been a couple of years since I last treated SIBO). It really bloated me. I can’t be sure whether it was the antibiotics or the guar gum or both, but I have been permanently bloated ever since. I definitely won’t be trying that treatment again. Since my last treatment that I described in my post, I have been managing the bloating with a mostly low fodmap diet and Lactobacillus reuteri (probiotic that reduces methane). I will occasionally take oregano oil if I get constipated from too much methane, but if I take it for too long, I do find that I need probiotics to then get things moving again. It’s a balance. I am no longer strict with the diet. I do eat some moderate fodmaps like sweet potato, avocado, and celery, and these feed my good bacteria.

          I’ve been focused on getting to the root cause of my SIBO, which now seems to possibly involve neurotoxins from Lyme and mold. Since I’ve been working on detoxification, I have been ignoring SIBO. Unfortunately this has caused it to grow into a monster yet again! I’m now experimenting with Biocidin and anti-fungal herbs. I’m working on some more posts related to my health journey, so hopefully I’ll get around to posting those soon!

    1. Christina Post author

      Will do! I am starting down a new path, and as soon as I learn a bit more, I will post another update. Thank you for reading my story!

  4. Debra

    I wanted to add some of my own thoughts as well. I’ve been suffering for about 15 years with SIBO, but didn’t realize exactly what it was until recently. I knew it was bad and made me suffer every day, but still didn’t realize it was SIBO even though I had my suspicions. I have tried everything and anything that will help me with this disease and found a few things that may help. One thing that I did was began making my own homemade fermented juices and then I added some probiotics to the ferment, which made it more powerful. I started out drinking them, but after a while, I was not able to tolerate it. I began doing enemas with the fermented juice and that seemed to help tremendously to put the healthy bacteria into the place. I tried S. Boulardi as the probiotic and that was wonderful at first. I now use Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Women.
    I’ve also tried a treatment protocol using Mimosa Pudica, which I found depletes all bacteria, healthy and unhealthy. I started taking 10 pills that I made myself twice a day. Along with that, I take Fulvic Acid, 4 pills several 3 or 4 times a day along with molybdenum. The molybdenum turns the acetic acid into acetyl cysteine, which helps with the die off symptoms. I had to work my way up with the Fulvic Acid because it’s very strong. I bought the Shijilat type, which seems to be pretty good. One of the things that I found is that there are a lot of things that work for a little while, but then they become ineffective.
    I am also on the low FODMAP diet and that helps. Before I knew about the diet completely, I thought I was following it already, but I was mostly on Keto and the Candida diet. What I found is that I can’t tolerate Erythritol, which I was eating. I recently cut that out realizing that it was high FODMAP and it seems to be helping quite a bit.
    I stopped taking the mimosa pudica because of the bacteria depletion, but I think my biggest problem was that I was taking too much of it. I believe the best protocol for me now is to continue with the Fulvic Acid, which makes a huge difference, taking the probiotics, at a different time than the mimosa pudica will help. I will also be adding some herbal antibiotics. So, here’s my protocol. 2 Mimosa pudica capsules first thing in the morning, along with 1 FC-Cidal and 1 Dysbiocide, then 1/2 hour later I will be taking 4 Fulvic Acid pills, 2 probiotic pills, 2 Tudca pills (which are good for the liver). At around noon, I will then repeat the Fulvic Acid/probiotic regimen at around 5 and another around 9 pm. Then at around 9:30 pm, I will do the mimosa pudica, FC-Cidal and Dysbiocide.
    I’ll keep everyone posted, but I think I’m on to something here

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Debra,

      Thank you for sharing what has and hasn’t worked for you. I am deeply apologetic that it has taken me months to approve your comment and respond. I have been through a worse than usual period with my health, and I just didn’t have the energy to even check on my blog.

      What I have found with SIBO is that everyone is so different, whether we are talking about foods that we tolerate or treatments that work. This fact makes it really frustrating for people who are looking to others for answers. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to share what works for us. It gives others something to try, and as long as there is something to try, we can maintain hope that something will work someday!

      I personally have been working on other aspects of my health, but I am having more SIBO symptoms again lately. I am planning a round of herbs and then another elemental diet. For me, the elemental diet has been the best way to knock down the bacteria and heal some of my gut. The results are not 100 percent, but it knocks things down enough to manage the symptoms for months afterward.

      I hope that you are feeling a bit better after some of those treatments you described.


    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Art,

      Thanks for checking in. No, I am sorry to say that I am definitely not cured. In fact, I have been so overwhelmed by my health issues in the last few months that I have not even checked on my blog.

      I have been chasing down other diagnoses to get at the root cause of my SIBO, and I find that I actually miss the simplicity of treating SIBO compared to some of these other illnesses I have been trying to treat: Lyme, Babesia, and mold toxicity. I might just take a break and do some SIBO treatments to make my gut feel a little better again.


  5. Rick

    Have you investigated phages therapy? Available in the US at UC San Diego IPATH clinic. In Europe: many clinics in Poland and Georgia. Their objective is fighting bacteria by introducing a safe virus ‘cocktail’ especially made for the individual and their problem. I have a recurring UTI. IPATH has identified a phage that would work for me. Special dispensation from FDA is required for each patient. I’m waiting for approval. IPATH will fill out the necessary FDA forms. So far there has been no cost associated for the analysis, identifying and creating the right ‘cocktail’ for me. If you go to Poland/Georgia, they treat thousands of patients a year with a variety of bacterial infections. No dispensation is required. Here’s the link to IPATH or just do a Google search for IPATH / biophage therapy. I wish you luck.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for the advice. I have heard a bit about phage therapy. It sounds like a therapy with great potential for specific infections. I guess I had assumed that my SIBO was just an overgrowth of a whole bunch of species in my gut, bacteria that are supposed to be there, just overgrown and in the wrong place. If one or a few species with a bad reputation for causing illness are overgrown, I can see where this might be really helpful. I have not observed that scenario in my stool test results. I did recently learn that I have Blastocystis hominis in my gut. It’s a protozoan and a parasite. However, it is believed that half the world’s population has this parasite, so it is unknown whether or not it causes illness.

      Being a science nerd, I do find this therapy really interesting and exciting. I hope that it helps you with your UTI. Feel free to stop by and leave a comment when you finally do experience the therapy, and let me know how it goes.


  6. Becky

    Hi Christina,
    My husband and I both suffered with SIBO and my struggle is ongoing as well. Related to that in my case is my thyroid health and poor detox and estrogen build up – that is a short summary and I am learning more daily it seems. Just wanted to throw that all out there to be sure you are taking your thyroid and hormone balance into consideration along with food and immunity.
    Take care…you aren’t alone.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Becky,

      Thank you for sharing your story and what you’ve learned about your condition. I have had thyroid and hormone tests. My thyroid hormones are mostly ok, but my T3 is sometimes low, especially on these low carb diets. The rest of my hormones are all pretty low. What I’ve learned is that having a chronically active immune system really depletes the body of hormones. I’ve been tested for all kinds of things, and it seems that mold exposure and possibly tick-borne illness, especially babesia, are at the root of my illness. I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, which is often associated with Lyme and mold, but in general, it’s just a name for when the immune system gets stuck in the “on” position, continuously fighting something. Typically a whole storm of events (infections, toxin exposure, stress) comes together to overwhelm the immune system. This is the diagnosis that makes the most sense to me. I do feel like I have had a cold/flu everyday for nearly 8 years now. When I think of it that way, it makes sense that I would be fatigued, in pain, have a messed up gut, and be depleted of hormones. I can’t say I’ve figured out how to get my immune system “unstuck” yet, but I’m trying new things all the time. I’ve just been too fatigued and overwhelmed to write about it. I still hope to change that soon and start sharing more stories here on my blog.

      I hope that we both find our way out of this someday. I have definitely been through some low periods where I feel like I’ve tried everything, and I’m still sick. I do think that trying to remove as many triggers for the immune system as possible is important. I spent a lot of time on antibiotics and antimicrobials trying to remove infections, but I think that removing exposure to toxins, helping the body to detoxify, and working on the brain (decreasing stress, calming the nervous system, removing “mental toxicity”) are all important.

      Best of luck to you.

  7. Shannon


    I totally understand your frustration. I too have been through many of the trials you described here. The thing that has made the most difference for me in my journey was a prescription for Sertraline (Zoloft) at a very low dose. That brain-gut connection is real and has made a huge difference! I know I’m not 100%, but I feel much better! Best of luck to you!


    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Shannon,

      Thank you for sharing what has worked for you. Since this post, I have gone in many different directions, and I am on an entirely new path now. Unfortunately I have been so overwhelmed and drained by my illness for the last couple of years that I have neglected my blog. I have held onto it hoping that someday soon I will return to it and begin writing and sharing again. Maybe that time is now. At least I am finally replying to comments!

      My current path is a holistic one, finding where my body needs help through genetic analysis and testing and addressing those specific weaknesses. We’ll see where it takes me. I completely agree about the brain-gut connection and will take note of your suggestion. While my attempts at healing keep failing, at least there are still many things to try. I keep a running list for future attempts.

      I hope you are doing well.


  8. Robin

    I’m so sorry to hear of your suffering. I’m just starting this journey, but I came across a website/YouTube channel that people may not have heard of called The SIBO Doctor. I’m sorry if someone has already mentioned her. I haven’t read through all of the comments yet. Just thought I’d share as it may help you or someone else. She seems very knowledgeable and has a program/diet to help people to heal, for free.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks for sharing this valuable resource. I am familiar with this doctor from my days of thoroughly researching SIBO. It looks like she has put together some helpful programs since I first learned about her. I’ve been taking some different directions in the last few years since I have determined that there is more to my illness than just SIBO. Some of those directions have been complete failures and have even worsened my illness. I am on yet another new path now, and while I have no idea yet if it will be the ultimate solution, I have to keep trying.

      I’ll keep this resource in mind for the future. I’m sure it will also be helpful for others who happen to read this post.

      I hope you are making some progress.


  9. Deborah

    So much love to you Christina. It sounds like what you – and others – have been through is a mountain to climb and many people have no idea the struggle involved. I have had gut issues since 2012 when I had two rounds of food poisoning – one that was particularly disturbing – and then flu and infections where I was taking antibiotics. Since then I’ve been researching and learning how to heal while carrying on with all of life’s duties. But reading your experiences, well it’s a lot. I just want to say God bless you. Though I’m not religious. Just seems like it needs to be said.

    1. Christina Post author

      Thank you, Deborah. I can tell that you understand deeply, and it means a lot to me that you took the time to share it. You’re right. These struggles are invisible to most but very real. Thank you for reaching out with your kind words. I hope that you find some ways to better manage your gut issues.

  10. Zena

    Hi Christina,
    Are you any better? Are you healed? It’s been so long you’ve been dealing with this. I truly hope something works and you get better.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Zena,

      Thank you for checking in with me. Unfortunately after trying many different treatments, I am still ill. Usually no news is good news, but in my case it’s bad news. I’ve been too drained of energy and unable to concentrate for long enough to keep up with this blog. I hold onto it with good intentions of writing and sharing more.

      I’m on an entirely new path now, using supplements to target my weaknesses identified through genetic analysis and testing. I have no idea yet if it will work for me, but it feels like a better way than going after single diagnoses like Lyme and mold.

      I hope to find a way to begin sharing the experiences of my journey again, maybe writing for 20 minutes and then taking breaks as my concentration doesn’t last long. However, if I have the good luck of regaining my health, I will be sure to share as widely as possible.

  11. Amy

    I was researching the protocol my Doctors put me on for SIBO and came upon your blog.
    So much great information for us SIBO sufferers.

    I’ve been battling health issues for years… it’s like a plague of mystery illness, or I fix one
    thing only to have something new crop up. I’ve had gut issues for a long time (leaky gut)
    I’ve been trying to fix on my own for years. Then about 4 weeks ago my doctor asked had
    I ever been tested for SIBO, me- a quick no, and what is SIBO?

    I’m hoping/praying that the extreme diet I had already been following before I started will
    be helpful to possibly getting rid of this mess. I’m doing 2 weeks of Dysbiocide, FC-Cidal
    and A.D.P, then a week off, 2 weeks back on, a week off and during that week we are adding another for my last two week run. I take 2 of each biotic-research 3x a day. On top of other supplements.

    I’m certain the decade of over prescribed antibiotics ruined my gut health causing autoimmune issues has caused this as well. Your immune system can only be compromised so long before your body just cannot cope. I’ve developed food allergies as well as allergies to medications, skin issues. It’s all such a mess, and I understand the long fight. I’m hoping this doesn’t become a new long ongoing fight for me too.

    My heart goes out to you and every person here who has been living with SIBO. I hope the other things you’ve been trying to treat are helping you. Keep fighting, it truly sounds like you’ve made tremendous improvements. Being better educated on many health platforms will help you even more I’m certain. Sending good cheer your way!

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you for writing about your own experiences. I hope you have at least managed to calm some of your gut symptoms with the SIBO treatments.

      This is an extremely delayed response to your comment. I’ve been caught in a hopeless cycle of trial and error treatments for my chronic health conditions, and it left me numb and completely lacking in motivation and creativity for the last few years. I’m working on climbing my way out of my hole now, so I am finally seeing all the comments on my SIBO treatment post!

      It’s good to know that I am not alone, but it is also sad that so many of us are unable to live up to our full potential while dealing with these mysterious chronic conditions. I am on yet another new path now, focusing on the brain and nervous system. It will be a long journey, but I know it is something that will be helpful to me whether or not I am able to resolve my symptoms.

  12. Jordan

    I also have methane-dominant SIBO-C. In my case, caused by overuse of antibiotics (i had infected tonsils and the MD just kept giving me anitbiotics – it took a dentist to notice what was up) plus developing Hashimotos An autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid). I just wanted to mention 2 things – first, that you can havr thyroid #s that are. in the normal range andstill have Hashimotos. I had to go through 3 MDs before I found someone who would test me for Hashimotos because my TSH is within ‘normal’ range. It’s a simple blood test, where you test for 2 types of antibodies which indicate the presence of the disease. Anyone reading this, if you have the symptoms of Hashis – one of which is constipation – please insist that your MD test you for the antibodies.
    The second thing is that I’ve been on Low Dose Naltrexone for a year now and it has helped with the constipation, which is crucial to improving my SIBO. I’ve also had luck with chia seeds and kiwi fruit (eat the skin as well as the insides of the fruit for more fiber).
    Good luck.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Jordan,

      Thank you for sharing a critical root cause for SIBO. I’m glad to hear that you managed to discover the Hashimoto’s diagnosis for yourself. That is a huge step forward.

      For me, I did find doctors that ordered the full thyroid panels (TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3, and the antibodies you mention: thyroglobulin antibody and thyroid peroxidase antibody) fairly early on. The only anomaly on my test results was a slightly low T3 and high reverse T3. What this means is that my body is conserving energy by making less of the active thyroid hormone (T3). Our bodies do this when under stress, including when they are fighting infections. Luckily for me, my thyroid itself is in good shape. My body is just stuck in chronic stress mode. This does feed into the vicious cycle though, by slowing gut motility. So, SIBO leads to leaky gut, which leads to a chronic immune response, which leads to reduced T3 production, which then further slows gut motility, making SIBO worse. I have recently tried breaking the cycle by giving my body a tiny bit of T3 (the drug is called Cytomel). At first, I could feel that it helped a little with gut motility. However, after a while my body seemed to say “ha! I can’t be fooled anymore. I am trying to conserve energy at this time, and your tricky drug can’t stop me!” I am still searching for my root cause after all these years, but I am beginning to believe that at least for some of us, once these vicious cycles start, the “root cause” no longer matters. We have to attempt to break the cycle by interrupting it at various points along the circle all at the same time.

      On the Low Dose Naltrexone, I have been taking it as well since 2016. For me, it didn’t help much with constipation, but it has helped with chronic pain. I still enjoy the side effect of sleepiness. I take it before bed, and it helps me sleep. I understand it has the opposite effect on some people, so we are all different.

      Thanks again for sharing your tips, and I do apologize for taking so long to post them.

  13. Patsy Grosselle

    Hello fellow SIBO sufferers. I have been having SIBO for about 2 years now and have tried antibiotics with no relief. I am about to try the herbal protocol before seeing the naturopathic doctor. Or should I see her first? I have had a complete colectomy and did not have SIBO symptoms until 7 years after the surgery. I do remember having food poisoning but am having trouble remembering how long ago that was.

    1. Christina Post author

      Hi Patsy,

      It is very interesting that you did not have SIBO symptoms until 7 years after your surgery. I can imagine that bowel surgery of any kind could initiate the motility problems that lead to SIBO. Even abdominal surgery for other reasons can lead to a buildup of scar tissue that interferes with gut motility, leading to SIBO. Obviously you are aware of the link between food poisoning and SIBO. If you have both of these in your health history, I imagine that you might have to manage SIBO for life. I would recommend getting input on how to assist your motility from a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. Herbal antibiotics are helpful to manage some of the symptoms of fermentation when you eat a higher FODMAP meal, but they likely won’t solve the problem. If you do end up having to continuously manage the symptoms, I recommend a mostly low-FODMAP diet, keeping some antimicrobial herbs on hand, and getting medical recommendations on how to assist your gut motility. If scar tissue is an issue for you, I have heard that there are ways to loosen and break up that scar tissue to allow your small intestine to function more normally.

      Best of luck to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: