Comic book villains are the evil characters that negatively influence other characters in a story, and cause havoc to society. I love watching the Marvel movies with my kids, and my 14 year old daughter is always attracted to the bad guys. She loves Loki in the Thor movies, and we have just finished watching Daredevil (Season 1) and she liked the character Fisk who plays the protagonist. It's her attraction to the duality of these characters that has made me pay more attention to the villains. In your gut story, SIBO could be that evil villain.
SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a lot like those villains . Villains typically have two personas: the one they show to the world at large, and the one that is the criminal or evil persona that only gets shown to some people or gets hidden behind a mask. Catwoman is the perfect example of a masked villain. By day she is a shy, mild mannered woman, but as Catwoman she is lithe and lethal. SIBO is like the masked villain. The masked persona shows up as IBS, Fibromyalgia, Rosacea or symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, acne, eczema, chronic joint pain, or depression.
Unmasked, SIBO is revealed to be exactly what it says it is - an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Bacterial growth in the small intestine is normal and when that bacteria is in a healthy balance it has several benefits for the body including the production of vitamin K and some of the B vitamins, as well as a role in digestion and absorption of nutrients. When multiple species, or when all species reach a state of overgrowth, then damage occurs to the cells that line the intestinal barrier, and leaky gut occurs. Leaky gut (also known as intestinal permeability) allows large food molecules and toxins to leak into the body, and is a significant factor in food sensitivities, inflammation and autoimmune conditions (Source). SIBO can also result in malnutrition due to an impaired ability to absorb nutrients (Source).
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE SIBO? (aka HOW DO I REVEAL THE VILLAIN?)
Do you suffer from bloating, belching, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and/or abdominal pain, and you have had little or no success with treatment options?
Have you been diagnosed with IBS, fibromyalgia or rosacea?
Do probiotic supplements make your symptoms worse?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then it is worth getting tested for SIBO.
A functional doctor or naturopathic doctor can do a SIBO test for you. If the test comes back positive, then a dietary approach along with an anti-microbial protocol can be used to bring the overgrowth back to a normal state. Some practitioners also use antibiotics, but people are becoming increasingly reluctant to take antibiotics, and there is a high rate of SIBO recurrence with antibiotics (Source).
UNMASK YOUR SIBO
If you have been suffering from chronic health problems, and answered yes to any of the questions above, then it's time to take the next step in understanding who the villain behind your symptoms is.
Happy, Healthy Unmasking!