SIBO diaries, pt. two | breath test results + antimicrobial treatment

Part two of the elusive mystery that is my stomach. But before we dive in, a brief recap from where we left off:

July 2016
+ nutritionist suspected Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth, or SIBO, as cause

+ began a low FODMAP/paleo protocol 
+ took an at-home breath test that never made its way to the lab (thanks FedEx!)
+ began a 30-90 day antimicrobial treatment

December 2016
+ after 2 months, a strict diet (that was often not so strictly followed), and nearly 18 lbs. in weight loss, I paused the treatment to take Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis w/ Parisitology x3 test

+ results showed high markers for potential IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease

January 2017
+ based on test results, nutritionist recommended a colonoscopy to determine if I indeed have an IBD, as well as another SIBO breath test (which was actually delivered this time)

A few days ago, I received my SIBO breath tests results that showed elevated levels of hydrogen gas, but thankfully they aren’t incredibly high. My doc suspects that it was likely much higher before I did the first round of antimicrobial treatment. For reference:


To my understanding, hydrogen gas naturally exists in the large intestine due to fermentation, but it’s not supposed to ferment and freely roam in the small intestine–hence, all the bloating and uncomfortable symptoms. Also, in a nut shell, hydrogen is associated with SIBO-D (diarrhea) and methane is associated with SIBO-C (constipation).

I’m a little apprehensive to share these next two photos, not only because it may come off a bit TMI to some folk, but also because it’s slightly embarrassing for me. But for the chance that these photos may help others relate and identify, and with the hope of diminishing the stigma around, frankly, poop talk and other GI-related topics, here goes. SIBO-savvy people like to call this our “SIBO babies” because well, we basically look pregnant. (I’m not.)

This is me when I veer a little too far off the diet. (P.S. These photos were taken after my first stint with treatment which helped decrease the extent of the bloating. When I first started getting symptoms back in Sept’15, I used to look even more like a balloon about to pop.) When it gets seriously distended, it’s painful, extremely fatiguing, and emotionally-draining. Sometimes I feel a dull but pressing pain in lower right regions of my abdomen and my back.

With these results under my belt–or should I say belly? sigh–the next game plan is to finish another 30 days of strict Paleo/low-FODMAP diet along with the same herbal antimicrobial treatment, which I’ve started today. I’ll also be waiting to get the colonoscopy. For those interested, here’s a list of what’s included in the treatment. With every supplement, I started at a small dosage and worked my way up to larger dosages as my body adapted. (Disclaimer: I followed this protocol with the guidance of a practicing nutritionist.)

TerrainZyme HCL Pro-Zyme (Z-26)
+ Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL), Vitamin, & Herbal Dietary Supplement
+ helps with overall digestion and breaking down of foods

Apex Energetics EnzymixPro
+ broad spectrum enzyme dietary supplement

Lauricidin Monolaurin Supplement
+ a highly purified lipid extract derived from coconut oil
+ promotes strong immune defense; supports healthy balance of gut bacteria; maintains healthy levels of yeast

Apex Energetics HemeVite Plus
+ contains vitamin C, iron, liver, and HCL
+ iron and liver helps with energy levels

Apex Energetics GI-Synergy
+ an herbal & fatty acid dietary supplement; 3 formulas that work together to support the intestinal terrain
+ H-PLR: blend of herbs that supports immune function and bacterial imbalance; active ingredient is berberine which eases diarrhea and indigestion
+ Yeastonil: maintains mucosal intestinal barrier with herbs like uva ursi, cat’s claw and Pau D’Arco
+ Parastonil: wormwood and other herbs addresses symptoms associated with intestinal parasites

+ broad spectrum formula that contains 29 different strains of beneficial microflora
+ contains bacillus subtilis (proven probiotic)

Klaire Labs Interfase Plus
+ an enzyme supplement specialized to disrupt the unhealthy biofilm created by bacteria (basically like plaque on our teeth, it prevents full absorption of nutrients, houses disease-causing microorganisms, promotes inflammation, etc.)

Other supplements/digestive aids: Iberogast, cod liver oil, and Sibiotica. And finally, adding in a natural fiber powder and magnesium (relaxing and de-stressing) was very effective with regulating BMs.

The initial round of the treatment helped immensely for my condition, but admittedly, I became too lenient with foods that I knew I should avoid. (The holidays just aren’t the same without some wine and homemade desserts, right? They were gluten-free, I swear. But I digress.) Knee-deep into the new year, I’m excited to take on the challenge of the 3o-day treatment/paleo reset diet, and I’m hopeful that this second round  will finish off those little buggers and get me on the road to recovery. Now, where to find some delicious paleo/low-FODMAP recipes to add to my recipe index?

// ruth kim



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