Recurring SIBO: Causes of SIBO?

Commented on February 21, 2016
Created March 18, 2013 at 5:51 AM

So, SIBO treatment appears to be limited in that it only treats SIBO in itself. I feel as if the major reason most experience recurring symptoms is that the root condition is not being treated.

So my question is, what are the causes of SIBO and how do you treat those causes as to allow oneself to return to a normal paleo diet?

As I have found, people assume they must deal with this condition for the rest of the life when in actuality there appears to be a root cause to this problem and that cause is particularly left untreated. What are the possible causes, that when treated, rid of the overgrowth?


These are a few interesting resources; check them out!: http://www.gidoctor.net/small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth.php http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g4zAjwhymd0



on January 05, 2015
at 02:39 PM

I'm currently very optimistic about RS (resistant starch). I'm using modified potato starch which is easy to stir in water and very inexpensive and also tasteless. There is lots of info about it... I'm hoping to see more posts about SIBO and IBS being helped by taking it. 


on March 20, 2013
at 03:16 PM

Second that, excellent book.



on March 20, 2013
at 12:09 PM

Just read GAPS by Dr. NCM.

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5 Answers


on September 29, 2014
at 04:07 PM


I'm currently trying to clear SIBO. Here's a little background info/marathon answer:

1. After short course of super strong antibiotics for bladder infection, developed reactions to foods that were previously fine. Lots of stomach pains.

2. Transitioning to a FODMAPS version of paleo, combined with avoiding foods high in insoluble fibre and lowish carb helped a lot. Very little fruit for me- a few berries, the odd half a green ish banana, some pineapple or papaya as long as it is very fresh (must be the enzymes make then easy to digest). My range of foods has expanded a bit over the last year or so- cougettes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, rocket (arugula) are back on the menu after  a while where they caused me a huge amount of pain. Being no sugar/agave/honey/fructose etc is a massive boost. 

3. Bit of a relapse earlier this year (had got a lot better so had gotten a bit slack with some sugar/honey/dates and bit of dairy round Christmas and the holdays). Even though on same diet as worked before started getting a lot of gas and pain in large intestine. Relieved in part by taking Prescript Assist and S Boullardi. 

4. Now instead of gas in large intestine, I have a lot of gas in small intestine- less painful but still uncomfortable. I think the gas pressure in my large intestine forced some bacteria into small intestine and SIBO has developed from that. These days, I sometimes get some bloating/pain inthe large intestine, but only ever after I have already experienced pain inthe small intestine during the course of the same digestive transit.

5. Now treating the SIBO with supplementation along these lines: Google Palo leap and "you and your gut flora" as I can't post a link.  I don't want to do rushing down the anti-biotic path as it could just wipe out the good bacteria I have left. I take digestive enzymes (candex and bromelain) with a lot of water in between meals to disrupt any biofilms, antifungals (oregano oil, caprylic acid, & biotin capsules with pau d'arco tea, then a small coffee with a little MCT oil) about an hour or so before meals and various probiotics including Prescript Asisst with meals as well as the vitamins outlined inthe link for general immune support.

It is supposed to be the enzymes breaking down the SIBO, the antifungals and MCT oil helping to flushing my system & fight any candida or bad yeasts that could be there and the probiotics repopulating my sytem, all with vitamins that help with general immune support.  

Finding a vitamin D supplement based on lanolin not fish/shellfish was one of the things that made a huge difference. If you are on a restricted range of foods, it can become more likely that you will start having histamine reactions a lot of them through over exposure and develop histamine intolerance, so it's important to find ways to manage your overall histamine reaction load. I developed a real histamine reaction to strawberries, some shellfish, preserved meats and any fish or meat that wasnt really fresh. So finding out what really triggers your histamne helps, as does rotating the foods you can have well and really trying to find what portion size of a borderline food you can tolerate- this is so you can increase the variety and therefore the nutrient sin your diet, otherwise it's a downward spiral for your health.   As has increasing intake of herbs like oregano, basil, greek basil, parsley (think small salad not garnish size portion). I also either supplement with magnesium, take magnesium salt baths or use a topical magnesium oil skin spray. So far, I must say, it does seem to be getting better quite quickly. About a week in, so fingers crossed.

6. I also find that eating relatively small portions, having olive oil or mct oil on any carby vegetables and ensuring there is some balsamic or acv with the meal helps a lot too as it doesn't stress my system. 

At first I thought my problems might have been caused by the anti-biotics disrupting my gut flora. I still think that is possible, or at least part of the story. But a lot of people do develop IBS like symptoms after a bladder infection. I don't think it's difficult to see how a bladder infection might be followed by a bowel infection, how that bowel infection might have caused the gas and pain, that lead to an increase in pressure that meant some bacteria were forced into the small intestine. 

But that does lead to the question, as the OP asked, of what is the root cause? Of the first infection. For a long time I thought I had some kind of candida overgrowth and that had thrown my system totally out of whack. But candida is a bit of a catch all. 

I've also been looking in into the possible connections between IBS, SIBO, Rosacea and demodex mites. It's worth looking into that a bit. Stumbled on some connections over time, namely:

Many people with IBS style symptoms get better if treated conventionally for SIBO (Either rifaximin or metronidazole- the former is an anti-biotic that stays in the stomach and doesn't reach the blood steam very well, the latter helps people who are producing methane gas not hydrogen gas. I haven't gone down that route yet, but might if the supplements regime doesn't work as I am at my wit's end just about sometimes).

A lot of people with SIBO have rosacea. I get rosacea after eating- facial flushing. it runs in my family- especially amongst older members, peopel in their 80s and 90s. Simple facial flushing after food could be due to the release of a toxin into the system caused by the food feeding a bacteria- the more severe types of rosacea with pimples and so on could just be a different reaction to those toxins over time. Not all people with rosacea have SIBo, and vice versa. There are lots of types of rosacea, and maybe not of all of them have the same root cause. Sometimes things that look similar get bundled together but don't have the same underlying mechanisms. So I'm not that worried by it not being a 100% corelation between rosacea and SIBO. But the same treatment that works for people with IBS style symptoms from SIBO can work for some people with rosacea. 

Some people with rosacea have increased demodex mites- tiny arachnids that live in the hair root. Your chances of having them go up a lot with age- by age 90 you are virtually guranteed to have them (see above for the rosacea in my elderly relations) . Their waste products on skin could be the root cause of some infections like SIBO, bladder infections etc. They have also ben linked to acne.

Demodex mites can also cause blepharitus if they live in the roots of the eyelashes. My husband developed blepharitus not long before my infection, so that could be a different expression/reaction to the same cause. This was around the time I started regularly looking after my grandmother- who was then fast approaching her 100th birthday. So maybe pickedup then, maybe picked up another time, maybe that's not what it is at all, but sometimes you've got to chase something down and try to look at all the possibilities.

So I am going to look into how to treat demodex mies. Some opthamologist have success ftreating blepharitus with 20-50% concentration tea tree oil in macadamia oil (alongside with antibiotic/steroidal creams and debraidment), so that is goign to be my first investigation. Luckily, there are plenty of tea tree products for hair care, skin care, cleaning. 

Wow, I have really gone on a lot with this. I might sound a bit obsessive about this. But I used to work for a charity for elderly people. Part of it's remit was to fund research into the ageing process and find simple medical interventions to counteract the thing sthat people think are an inevitable consequence of old age. One piece of research they funded was conducted by this great guy who was a consultant at a London hospital. 

A lot of people get incontinent as they age. it really spoils their quality of life, how far they can go from the home. It can also affect the quality of care they get when they go into hospital or a home. Being cathaterised also really effects mobilty and can lead to all kinds of infections and so on, so it can have real health and mortality implications. 

What thi sman did was very simple. His theory was that a lot of incontinence, and near incontinence (the kind that makes people pretty much housebound as they don't want to be too far from the loo), was due to low grade bladder infection. Standard lab tests didn't bear this out. No bacteria in the urine.

But he knew that a urine test could take 48 hours or more to be completed in his hospital, in which time the bacteria levels had dropped. So he started doing the tests himself, at his patients bedsides, just a few minutes after the sample was given. And there was the evidence the infection. His treatment was a course of mild antibiotics, continued for a while- two to four weeks after cessation of symptoms. Over 90% cure rate. such a simple thing to give people their dignity, health and self-respect back over. 


Sometimes little things are the answer.



on March 20, 2013
at 09:17 PM

Until 1983 there was an anti-nausea drug on the market for pregnant women called Bendectin. It is estimated that up to 40% of women took this drug while pregnant. It was discontinued in the US in 1983 due to birth defects. One of those birth defects was (possibly) pyloric stenosis. (PS is a defect of the sphincter that goes from the stomach into the small intestine.)

I was one of those babies born with pyloric stenosis. I was undiagnosed (in spite of violent projectile vomiting) until 1 month old because "girls don't get pyloric stenosis." Well, it turns out that if their mom takes a certain drug, they do! I had surgery at 1 month old, and voila, fixed. (right).

Here is a blurb from fetal-exposure.org: "Two case control studies (Eskenazi et al, 1982; Aselton P et al, 1984) suggested a possible association between first trimester use of Bendectin and pyloric stenosis in exposed newborns. However, an increased risk of pyloric stenosis was not observed in several larger case-control studies. Eskenazi et al suggested that a slightly increased risk for pyloric stenosis could result from a confounder such as an increase in nausea in pregnant women with a genetic predisposition to gastrointestinal malformations."

Note: "genetic predisposition to gastrointestinal malformations." In spite of my surgery that "fixed" my intestinal problems, my life has been plagued with them. IBS, SIBO, constipation, diarrhea, some diagnosed, some undiagnosed. Paleo (low FODMAPs) has been a HUGE help in controlling so much of this, after a life of misery.

However, I still struggle with pain in my ileocecal valve (from small intestine to large intestine). And SIBO pain that returns anytime I let significant amounts of fruit back into my diet (I swear, I will NEVER eat apples again. Ever!).

So, not to sound dire, but I do believe that the motility and function of my gastrointestinal system has been compromised beyond repair, most likely due to this drug taken during my first trimester and a genetic predisposition. And I think that this is a fairly widespread, but silent problem.


on March 20, 2013
at 05:41 PM

I have no idea how to help my SIBO and in Germany no doctor even knows of it :( I will be watching this thread.


on March 20, 2013
at 05:27 PM

So, do you think SIBO can clear on its own if intestinal motility is restored on its own?

I also believe that low stomach acid is to blame for SIBO as well.



on January 05, 2015
at 02:44 PM

Believe SIBO and IBS can be cleared by using RESISTANT STARCH. I'm seeing positive results using modified potato starch and have high hopes (fingers crossed).


on March 20, 2013
at 11:35 AM

I would love an answer to this question myself. I have a suspicion that I'm dealing with SIBO as well and while I've read alot about how to deal with leaky gut (which I also have) there doesn't seem to be as many concrete solutions to get rid of SIBO besides going to get a breath test and taking antibiotics.


on February 21, 2016
at 04:14 PM

SPIRULINA is the answer...had candida/sibo for a year and a half. at my worst..couldn't tolerate even a piece of fruit without having diarrhea. make sure you get a good brand...i use PURE HAWAIIAN spirulina pacifica...they say use one teaspoon..i use a good size tablespoon. you'll have symptomes of detoxification..it lasted a week for me, but i'm finally free. i can actually eat many of the foods i used to with no symptoms. still repairing leaky gut..i use l glutamine for that. leaky gut can't be cured unless the fungal overgrowth is gotten rid of. SPIRULINA. im telling you, it works.

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