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What Causes SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and Why It’s so Hard to Treat


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Reviewed by Vanessa Wong, MD

While bacteria are an essential part of a healthy small bowel and perform important functions, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can lead to leaky gut and a number of other symptoms. Learn what puts you at risk for SIBO.

sibo info
SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a complex issue. istock.com/frentusha

The normal small bowel, which connects the stomach to the large bowel, is approximately 20 feet long. Gut microbiome bacteria are normally present throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract, but in varied amounts. Relatively few bacteria normally live in the small bowel (less than 10,000 bacteria per milliliter of fluid) when compared with the large bowel, or colon (at least 1,000,000,000 bacteria per milliliter of fluid). And, the types of bacteria normally present in the small bowel are different from those in the colon.

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Why You Should Thank Your Small Bowel and the Beneficial Bacteria That Live There

The small bowel plays an important role in digesting food and absorbing nutrients. It is also an important part of the immune system, containing an impressive network of lymphoid cells (cells of the immune system that help fight infections and regulate the immune system).

Are you at risk for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? Find out what the most common risk factors and symptoms are.#SIBO #SIBOsymptomps

The normal (beneficial) bacteria that are an essential part of the healthy small bowel also perform important functions. These beneficial microorganisms help protect against bad (i.e. pathogenic) bacteria and yeast that are ingested. They help the body absorb nutrients, and also produce several nutrients (such as short chain fatty acids) and vitamins like folate and vitamin K. These bacteria help maintain the normal muscular activity of the small bowel, which creates waves that move the contents of the intestine, like food, through the gut.    

What Is SIBO?

SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is defined as an increase in the number of bacteria, and/or changes in the types of bacteria present in the small bowel. In most patients, SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria, but is an overgrowth of the various types of bacteria that should normally be found in the colon (1). Less commonly, SIBO results from an increase in the otherwise normal bacteria of the small bowel. 

SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small bowel. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel (the mucosa). Additionally, this damage to the small bowel mucosa can lead to leaky gut (when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, allowing large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream), which is known to have a number of potential complications including immune reactions that cause food allergies or sensitivities, generalized inflammation, and autoimmune diseases (2).

These pathogenic bacteria, whether too many or the wrong types, can lead to nutritional deficiencies on top of those due to poor digestion or malabsorption. In particular, the bacteria will take up certain B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, before our own cells have a chance to absorb these important nutrients. They may also consume some of the amino acids, or protein, that we’ve ingested, which can lead to both mild protein deficiency and an increase in ammonia production by certain bacteria. (We normally produce some ammonia daily from normal metabolism, but ammonia requires detoxification, so this may add to an already burdened detoxification system.) The bacteria may also decrease fat absorption through their effect on bile acids, leading to deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins like A and D.

What Causes SIBO?

The body has several different ways of preventing SIBO. These include gastric acid secretion (maintaining an acidic environment), waves of bowel wall muscular activity, immunoglobulins in the intestinal fluid, and a valve that normally allows the flow of contents into the large bowel but prevents them from refluxing back into the small bowel. (This is called the ileocecal valve because it’s located between the ileum, or terminal end of the small intestine, and the cecum, a pouch forming the first part of the large bowel.)

The cause of SIBO is usually complex, and likely affects more than one of the protective mechanisms listed above. A number of risk factors for SIBO have been identified, with some of the more common risk factors listed below.  For a more complete discussion of associated diseases and risk factors check out this study and this study.

Risk Factors for SIBO

  • Low stomach acid
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Celiac disease (long-standing)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Prior bowel surgery
  • Diabetes mellitus (type I and type II)
  • Multiple courses of antibiotics
  • Organ system dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, or renal failure

Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) Also Increase the Risk for SIBO

Heavy alcohol use has long been recognized in association with SIBO (3). This study also found an association between SIBO and moderate alcohol consumption, defined as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Alcohol appears to have effects on several of the normal protective mechanisms, including causing injury to the small bowel mucosal cells, contributing to leaky gut, and decreasing the muscular contractions. Additionally, alcohol may “feed” a few specific types of bacteria contributing to overgrowth (4).

Overall there appears to be a moderate association between OCPs and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease (5). Though no studies to date specifically correlate the use of OCPs with SIBO, given the known relationship between IBD and SIBO, it is likely that this association holds true for SIBO as well. However, once patients stop taking OCPs, this risk appears to reverse.

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How Do You Know If You Have SIBO?

The number of people with SIBO in the general population remains unknown. Some studies suggest that between 6 to 15% of healthy, asymptomatic people have SIBO, while up to 80% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have SIBO (6). 

SIBO is largely under-diagnosed. This is because many people don’t seek medical care for their SIBO symptoms, and because many doctors aren’t aware of how common SIBO is.

Complicating this, the most commonly used tests (breath tests measuring levels of hydrogen and methane gas) still have fairly high rates of false negatives (meaning the test results come back as negative but you actually do have the disease) (7).

The most common symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Bloating and abdominal distention
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation (generally associated with methanogens as Chris discussed in his recent podcast)
  • Gas and belching
  • In more severe cases, there may be weight loss and symptoms related to vitamin deficiencies.

Is SIBO Contagious?

Unlike many other bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract, SIBO is not contagious, and there is no evidence that exposure to any single microorganism increases the risk for developing SIBO. SIBO occurs due to a complex interplay of many different factors and is not passed on between individuals. However, some evidence suggests that there is an association between Helicobacter pylori and methane production, suggesting that H. pylori plays a role in gut dysbiosis. (8)

Why SIBO Can Be Difficult to Treat

Antibiotics are often used to treat SIBO. However, studies show that despite treatment with antibiotics, recurrence develops in almost half of all patients within one year. One study comparing treatment with rifaximin (the most commonly used antibiotic for SIBO) and botanical antimicrobials showed slightly better outcomes with the botanical protocol, but still with successful treatment in close to only half of all patients after one course of treatment.

These finding suggests that treatment of the overgrowth alone is not enough for most people. An additional piece of successful treatment must include addressing the underlying cause, or predisposing factor.

Though there are many identified associations between SIBO and other diseases as described above, abnormalities in gut motility are recognized as one of the most common associations. One study published this month demonstrated that patients with SIBO do have significant delays in small bowel transit time (the amount of time it takes something to move through the small bowel). This finding suggests that patients with SIBO, who do not recover after a standard course of antibiotics, or botanical antimicrobial protocol (which we prefer), may benefit from the addition of a prokinetic agent, which increases the muscular contractions of the small bowel. Octreotide and low dose naltrexone are two such options that are being investigated, and may help treat some cases of SIBO that don’t respond to antimicrobials alone. Other options may include prucalopride and low-dose erythromycin, as well as lubiprostone. (9)

As research into SIBO continues, we are increasingly understanding the complexity of this disease, and how treatment must be tailored to each individual to maximize success.

If you need support in dealing with SIBO, consider working with the California Center for Functional Medicine. CCFM offers a membership-based health transformation service that excels at helping people with chronic conditions make the changes necessary to reclaim their health. Find out more about what CCFM has to offer.
Amy Nett

About Amy:  Amy Nett, MD, graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2007.  She subsequently completed a year of internal medicine training at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, followed by five years of specialty training in radiology at Stanford University Hospital, with additional subspecialty training in pediatric radiology.

Along the course of her medical training and working through her own personal health issues, she found her passion for Functional Medicine. She works with patients through a Functional Medicine approach, working to identify and treat the root causes of illness. She uses nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, supplements, stress management, detoxification and lifestyle changes to restore proper function and improve health.

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Join the conversation

  1. I’m more than a little shocked at your list of “causes.” By the very nature of your list, it can mislead.
    Here’s another list:
    (1.) Use at almost any level of proton-pump inhibitors, but particularly at high levels or for more than a week or two. Plus, the problem is almost never too much stomach acid, but other issues.
    (2.) The use of over-the-counter medications.
    (3.) Too much caffeine repeatedly acting as a laxative.
    (4.) Opiates. Ironically, often prescribed to ease pain caused by untreated gut symptoms!
    (5.) B-12 deficiencies and/or zinc deficiencies, both common with SIBO, but both promptly rear their ugly heads if the gut is off.
    (6.) SIBO and other factors can harm a nerve leading from the brain to the small intestine, inhibiting motility, albeit often in a way that Dark Ages clinical medicine won’t find because it happens predominately at night and conventional testing won’t find it.

  2. Dear suffering friends you may consider trying kelp. I am not the same Bonnie posting from before so as not to cause confusion. For myself I am dealing with FAR more than just SIBO and also deal with hypothyroid, gastroparesis, complete loss of motility, auto immune disease and so on. My diet is extremely limited. And I won’t get into the more private areas but let’s just say I could no longer go. No amounts of magnesium, every herb under the sun, superfood, tons of water, laxatives. Nothing worked. It was like my insides were dead. Complete loss of perilstasis. For years! I had to do colon cleanses which only compounds things. All probiotics made things worse. I tried iodine and I felt horrible. I read though all the forums I tried different kinds. I took the other co supps. I did the salt flushes and I just felt plain awful. I knew it wasn’t a die off or all these other things you read about. Between the reactions go everything and the constant die off from all the cleanses and herbs and such I’ve used over the years I know what die off is. And it certainly seemed similar but the key was that all my hypo symptoms were getting MUCH worse. I had tried kelp prior and had really improved but then switched because of all the scary stuff about contaminants. I know my body doesn’t like chemicals and iodine in this form wasn’t for me. So I tried kelp again and I want to say I had a reaction at first but something told me to try another brand and sure enough I think the kind I reacted to was contaminated. I tried another of the same brand and was fine and then decided to switch to capping my own. I also had similar issues with Triphala which can also be contaminated with cadmium lead and mercury. I highly suggest giving both a try. Triphala to help detox and get the gut going and kelp. Kelp also has wonderful antibacterial properties as well. Do lots of research before considering. I’ve been ill and I’ve tried everything under the sun in 20 years. My belly issues started 10 years ago after big doses of diflucan and nystatin.

    And again find a reputable herb pharm that sells organic powders and cap your own. You can also ask for certificate of analysis that shows the purity. I tried the big brands and did not have the same results.

    I had no issues with kelp. Strong triphala can cause pretty intense detox if you’re very ill so go very slow. I haven’t read of anyone else experiencing it but I did. None of the horrible side effects I had with iodine were present with kelp. Iodine is necessary for all functions of the body. I have read so many scare tactics in iodine supplementation but keep in mind Asia eats tons of seaweed! Seaweed can be harvested and grown in protected areas so just find a reputable brand. You always want to avoid fillers and chemicals so capping was the best for me to ensure purity. I am on the road to wellness for the first time in years. I am not completely healed yet but feeling better by the day. I hope this helps someone.

  3. Sick for 3 years had all the tests saw all the drs say it’s anxiety. Yes, now I am getting anxious and depressed that I’m sick all the time. Breath smells like I took a shot of alcohol, burning and tingling in fingers and toes. Foggy, exhausted, nauseated. Finally saw a naturopath a year and half ago did a sibo breath test said a little high did rifaxim felt a little better, every time it comes back it seems worse with worse symptons.

  4. I am not a typical patient, I’m the Nightmare of 4 Specialist. I seem to react to most FDA drugs from hives to ER/Hospital trips. I’m 69, Hypothyroid, Fibromyalgia, NO female hormones, Osteoarthritis, Osteoprosis -3.5, Degenerative Spine, Calcification of the Lumbar, Neuropathy, GERD, Barrett’s Esopogus, Diverticulosis, sm Hiatial Hernia, Gastropresis, and now SIBO. Which means many foods have been eliminated from seeds to fiber. Only the Thyroid seems under control. Rest is not. I’ve had 2 ER trips in Feb with wrong diagnosis, small bowel was swollen, not Diverticulitis, nor a UT. Spasms in the AB and burning in the Lumbar spine from the Calcification that 10 mg of Valium x 2 per day was surpressing along with the FMS and the GP spasms. Until a Under Educated APN to afraid of losing her license refused to renew what my now retired Pain Specialist and Neurologist were treating me with. I’ve had 13 Neuropathy drug reactions. Worst were Lyrica, Neurotin and Cymbalta. Being Hypothyroid means no SOY or grapefruit, low iodine consumption. With the other Gastro issuses there isn’t a lot left to eat I’ve not already eliminated. I also now have to take Cardziem for Hypertension that is PAIN caused, I do have an Enlarged Heart with a sm. Mitral valve leak so low sodium too. Back doc says spine will crumble if they touch it. Tired of being sick. Tired of the BP headache. Just plain tired no energy, and never ending PAIN. I do take 40 Billion Probiotics and 40 mcg of Selenium along with a lot of Bone growth vitamins/minerals. Allergic to sea food, certain food dyes especially red ones. Low tolerance to dairy even my calcium is picky Coral Calcium is the least bloating 1 I can find. 640 Mag Citrate, Stronium, Zinc/Copper.

  5. my mother (77) was diagnosed with SIBO after decades of misdiagnosis/dismisal of her chronic bloating/gassy symptoms. She is on a two week 3x a day550mg course of rixaifain. Its day 3 and the bloating seems worse, and stagnant. Taking gasX is not releasing it. its starting to cause heaviness in the chest. Is this a normal trajectory, of how the antibiotics work?

    Side note, she also has a hiatal hernia but no GERD.

  6. Hi there,
    I would be interested if you have seen patients with connective tissue disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos) having SIBO. Collagen dysfunctionality can lead to leaky gut and reduced mobility, which could cause the SIBO.
    What is your experience in such cases? Which botanicals could be used for a more longterm relief?
    I’d be glad to hear from some expert or patient who can tell me some more (facts, please).

    • My son who is 9 has scored 7/9 on the Danos scoring. He has chronic unexplained nausea after having a stomach virus last May (10 months). I’ve been researching low vagal response due to Sensory Processing dysfunction as a possible cause for SIBO. He has several other diagnosis but this nausea is consuming him. He has lost weight and become depressed. It’s debilitating. His colonoscopy showed ilitius. Now Dr prescribed antibiotic for SIBO. But what’s the cause? I’m just at a loss for what to do to help him.

      • Hi Rebecca, sorry to hear your troubles. If anything I would try not to give your son antibiotics. Unfortunately doctors give these out like candy and they will not actually treat the issue, if anything it may just mask the problem – it can also take six months for a child’s immune system to improve after antibiotic use, that’s if it is improved (with some use of probiotics). If possible try to see a naturopathic/functional practitioner who is more experienced with these issues. Other resources I can offer you are Medical Medium, Dr Stephen Cabral and/or try doing some research on Paul Stamets Fungi Perfecti / medicinal mushrooms (coriolus in particular – although I am not sure for children). Best wishes.

  7. I want to know from Bonnie how to use the 7% Lugols iodine solution please.
    Can’t wait to start Bonnie

  8. Hi Amy/Chris,
    Can anyone answer WHY bacteria from the large intestine would want to travel up into the small intestine? Bacteria of the large intestine prefer insoluble fiber so why would they travel north? Isn’t the SI where monosaccharides are digested and absorbed? Is it the ileocecal valve that is not strong enough to create a tight closure? If that is the case, then how the heck did that happen?

    • Hello
      If you do a Search here on this page for my name – Bonnie, you will find MANY REPLIES of mine explaining how I KILLED OFF my Intestinal Bacteria with 5% Lugol’s Iodine, with answers to all your questions.

      Rather than write it all over again, do a Search and then if you have any questions you can ask me.

      • Hi Bonnie,

        I’ve been suffering from SIBO 20yrs+. Most of my youth consumed by it.

        No day goes without searching for latest developments of IBS/ SIBO C.

        About 4 years back I bought Lugols not sure what was the percentage but as destiny would have it, I never had the courage to try it. Why?

        Well internet is filled with arguments and counter arguments. With Iodine, counter arguments that came up on Google were Hyperthyroidism or irreversible damage to thyroid gland.

        Fast forward today research suggests SIBO D is caused by food poisoning and SIBO C by methanogens which is archaea (not bacteria) which is why antibiotics fail against it.

        Wanted to know what type of SIBO u had, constipation or D.

        Thx a lot for persistence of commenting/replying for all this while.


        • Abhi
          Read my posts first, then you might be encouraged to try Iodine.

          We all need a tiny amount DAILY, and it doesn’t take much to kill off the SIBO.

          • hey guys, i was wondering if you could help. Bonnie – i did the iodine drops like you mentioned for about a week and my stomach began to feel instantly better (i was doing 1 drop per day in water). At the end of that week, my throat started to feel very tight and almost felt like there was a lump in it. I stopped the iodine and in about 2 weeks the throat/thyroid feeling went away. About 2 weeks after that, i started taking pre natal vitamins because i am trying to conceive now and the throat discomfort/pressure/lump feeling is back and has not gone away for over a month. i have no idea what it could be and am too scared that i may have damaged it with the iodine. Does anyone know what to do to make it go away? Did it bring something out in me that i didnt know i had? Is there anything naturally i can do to fix this feeling? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! thank you…

            • Hi Maria, I am sure Bonnie will be of help but I have read that it can be a symptom when supplementing with iodine especially with those more deficient. Sometimes it takes the body time to adjust. MSM, sweating/use of sauna and Himalayan salt can help. Are you taking selenium? It’s also best to supplement selenium with iodine. But maybe for now is it best to have a break from it. Wish you well.

      • Thank you Bonnie but I cant figure out how to “search for your name” in order to find your initial post. Can you elaborate?

        • Veronica – if you use the keyboard combination: Ctrl / Command + F this will help to search for any word you wish within a web page. Press both keys simultaneously and a search bar will appear (usually at top left) in the search bar you can search “Bonnie” and it will display anything associated…

      • I am struggling with Sibo for years now Bonnie!
        Have been on antibiotics now for 3 months, with the diet I lose too much weight and the Lugol’s Iodine all I can get from the uk thru my daughter who lives there is Lugol’s 7% Iodine, how do I use the 7% Iodine? How many times a day and what quantity with what amount of water??
        I am desperate by now,
        Rosalie from Melbourne

      • Hi Bonnie, The issue I’m trying to understand and resolve now is foot neuropathy, which started very slowly about 18 years ago. Just felt like a little child standing on my feet. It has progressed gradually since then until it is pretty debilitating. I was diagnosed with methane SIBO about 16 years ago, took antibiotics (not rifaximin), and my symptoms of severe gas and bloating were reduced but have recurred a little over the years. I haven’t had another test but am wondering whether even a sub-clinical level of SIBO could disrupt B12 metabolism thereby causing foot neuropathy. I am willing to try the Lugol’s iodine although I don’t find mention in any of the posts of a die-off reaction, which I always have to a severe level when taking anything that kills bacteria–even homeopathics. Also, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease eight years ago, which can also cause neuropathy. That was probably my underlying issue that caused a DX of fibromyalgia 35 years ago, possibly Hashimoto’s 30 years ago and CFS 25 years ago. I haven’t had another Western Blot test but have had two CD 57 tests that showed that I was out of the active Lyme range. Except for the foot neuropathy, I have gradually felt better and better since getting the Lyme DX due to alternative methods. Will appreciate your advice re. die-off after taking Lugol’s and whether there is anything that can be done to ameliorate it. Thanks, Jackie

        • Hi Jackie, Bonnie may respond to you but in the interim… Lugol’s will unlikely cause a die-off effect, especially if taken gradually. If you start with one drop in a glass of water and build up gradually, i.e. by day 3 depending how you feel add two drops (I believe Bonnie gave a description of the gradual dose) either way, a little of Lugol’s should have no die-off. I can speak from some experience. Like everything, start slowly. Having said that, I am not sure that Lugol’s will be your be all and end all. If you are dealing with a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor they should be able to guide you with the right treatments but do as much research as you can, educate yourself. Listen to podcasts (Cabral Concept is a very good one, he also has a body detox) and look into Medical Medium and read all about celery juice. I imagine from your note that it will take more than one thing to get your body back to good health and start healing but it’s all possible. Best wishes

  9. Who in the metro NY or Long Island area treats SIBO> Tried antibiotic therapy w/o success. Diagnosed with severe SIBO and colonic inertia. Please help. Terribly nauseated and vomiting. Dropping weight from my 125lb frame. My GI issues resulted from small fiber neuropathy caused by iatrogenic nerve transection many years ago. I also have severe widespread CRPS/RSD. SOS

  10. I was diagnosed with severe sibo in Jan 2017 and went through 3 months of herbal treatment. I was retested and didn’t get the results for a few weeks. I’m now 5 weeks pregnant and just learned I still have sibo but the herbal protocol decreased my numbers by half or more. What can I do during pregnancy to keep this from coming back or helping to irradicate it further. Currently I still do probiotics, iberogast, and apple cider vinegar before meals because my stomach doesn’t produce enough acid. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Most pathogenic bacteria build a biofilm around themselves for protection from attack (herbal antibiotics, etc.,) The biofilm needs to be removed in order for your chosen bacterial killer to work as effectively as possible. Look up the website: yeastinfectionadvisor.com and click on “bad bacteria”. Biofase is the product to break down the biofilm.

      Also lactoferrin attacks the liposaccaride on the outside of gram-negative bacteria, breaking it down. Life Extension brand contains no magnesium stearate.

      A comprehensive stool analysis will give you exact names of pathogenic bacteria that you’re dealing with, and let you know if you have any good bacteria.

    • Trista, please come to Iodine Support Group on Facebook. We can give you info about increasing stomach acid and how to do it naturally.

  11. Hi ….I’ve suffered with SIBO since I had an illeostomy. I’d never heard of it before a doctor said I could have it, proved he was right. I’ve been on all sorts of antibiotics and probiotics…..all to no avail. I have read a fair amount on this subject now, I still have SIBO (3 years), I keep it under control with grapefruit seed extract, it does work (15 drops twice a day in water) any less and I start to lose weight again, this I have found out by experimenting myself, I discovered this on the web as doctors are of no use whatsoever….SIBO is too many bacteria in the small intestine ..So why should I be drinking billions of more bacteria each day as prescribed??? they have no idea!!!
    Now to get to your iodine….is this the same as you would have during an Xray??? if so I’m allergic to it..
    I would dearly love to be rid of this….

    • Peter
      Injectable Iodine that goes into the Vein for contrast imagining is NOT the same Iodine as the one we drink. Nothing at all alike.

      Lugol’s 5% Iodine is made especially for ORAL USE, to kill infections and so on, in the gut. It has been around since 1818 and there is nothing like it.

      Google it and see what is mentioned. It is also used for THE HEALTH OF THE Breast Tissue, the Prostate, the Thyroid and Ovaries.


      • Hi Bonnie …thanks for the reply, I have just looked to buy some Lugol’s 5% Iodine….It seems to come with other “stuff” mixed in , what should I be looking for?? or could you give me a certain make?

        • Peter
          What other stuff is mixed in? Why not send me a LINK so I can read all sides of the label?

            • Peter
              J Crow’s Lugol’s 5% is the best Iodine there is on the market. I have tried looking at the label from all directions. I don’t see any additives.

              • Hi Bonnie …I’m glad to hear that I’ve chosen the best, I’ll look forward to trying it and let you know the outcome.

                • Peter
                  Are you going to follow the same protocol that I used, going slowly?


                • Hi Bonnie …Yes I will…1 drop per day for a week then 2 drops a day for as week and then 3 drops a day for a week…now how much water do I mix it with ? and after the 3rd week providing all is well, 1 drop per day??
                  Many thanks

                • Peter

                  You keep increasing UNTIL your symptoms are gone, so everyone is different. It may happen for you at 6 weeks with 6 drops daily. Once your symptoms are gone, write in again and we can talk about a maintenance dose at that time.

                  Do you have a SLOW GUT? That was my problem and it is called Gastroparesis. Food moving along TOO SLOW can cause a lot of bacteria to build up over time and we feel rotten. Keep us posted a Year?

                • Slow gut???? who knows , I only have a small intestine, and I dont want that moving too fast otherwise all the nutrients disappear from my body and not take anything in…at the moment the bacteria are taking a lot of goodness that my body requires, I’m struggling to keep weight on, as the SIBO gets worse my weight goes down…as I said before I do take Grapefruit seed extract which keeps the sibo down but doesn’t seem to eradicate it …I’m hoping the Iodine will.

      • Hi Bonnie …not sure if my last comment posted or not?
        Thanks for your reply, I have looked into buying some Lugol’s 5% Iodine, however there seems to be other “stuff” mixed in…could you give me a make or what should I be looking for??
        Thanks #

        • Hi Bonnie

          My Iodine has now been delivered, but I’m in need of the amount of water that I dilute it with….


          • Pete
            There is no set amount of water to put the Iodine in. You have to decide that yourself. It is a matter of taste. I used about 4 ounces of water but never really measured it. I have read where people hated the taste but I never minded it at all.

            You could also put it in an empty capsule.

              • Hi Pete

                How is it going with the Lugol’s 5% iodine? We last heard from you almost a month ago.


                • Hi Bonnie ….in my 3rd week now of 3 drops a day.. there has been a change . As you know I’ve had an ileostomy (no large itestine left), I have a colostomy pouch ….the output has changed for the better and I have now dropped one session of loperomide at midday …So I’d say a huge improvement. I hope it carries on getting better…Well what can I say but a big thanks!!!…X
                  I’ll post again soon.

      • Bonnie, will Iodine help me gain weight? I can’t get past 85 lbs. Was down to 70. I have been self treating for almost 2 yrs. Drs are clueless and mine wasn’t concerned at all when I fell to 70 lbs. I was scared to death that I would die. Found a functional dr that helped me but the cost was too much for me. I’m trying everything and just can’t seem to go any further. I lost 1 lb and now am scared. Don’t want to lose anymore. I have hashimoto’s, candida, and leaky gut. My hair has been falling out again too.

        • Darlene

          I don’t know of any connection to body weight and Iodine. Sorry I can’t help with this problem.


          • Janet, I first treated the excess Candida with prescription meds and natural treatments. I take every vitamin and mineral to help. I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar. I take iberogast for the inflammation. I also take bone broth protein shakes. I take digestive enzymes and betaine and pepsin. I have incorporated all kinds of herbs known to man to treat infections. I have lost mucscle along the way because for 3 yrs I was losing weight and went to endo dr and she wasn’t concerned about the weight. Mind you, I didn’t start out at 200 lbs. I was 110 lbs. I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me and when I feel below 80 lbs I was calling every dr and going to see why this was happening. I can’t tell you what it felt like to basically be treated like it was all in my head. My primary would look me in the face and tell me that my labs were better than 90% of the patients in her practice. Labs are only good for what you’re looking for. I finally found a functional Dr that pointed me in the right direction. I’m not able to continue with him because of the cost. It’s all out of pocket. I read every article I can find and am at a loss for why I can’t move beyond 85 lbs. I’ve been stuck for 6 months at this weight and occasionally I lose a lb or 2 and get scared that I will be going backwards. Iodine is the only thing I’m not taking. I thought maybe this might be the missing piece. I’ve read about Wilsons temperature syndrome. I have low body temps all the time and he suggests that, that might be the cause of most peoples issues. He compares it to a car. It’s a simple cure but getting a dr to do it is another story.

            • Darlene,

              To find out if you have sibo get a comprehensive stool analysis. That is what I did, after doing like you, and taking every supplement under the sun, and not helping. I’ve eaten organic for more than 10 years.

              After researching, I thought I may have sibo and went to an integrative physician and they gave me a stool analysis kit to take home and send in.

              The results came back that I have sibo, of a pathogenic bacteria, which can cause autoimmune diseases (which I have).

              I traced it back to being infected 44 years ago.

              Anyway, the doctor office’s protocol did not work, so after more research by my new Dr. (google) I found out what to do.

              I would suggest that if you suspect sibo, get the stool analysis. You can get it directly from the company and not have to go through a doctor office (I found out that out later). I will be testing again to make sure that bacteria is gone.

              I too have been losing weight, and will lose more before this is all over. The bacteria get to eat your food first, and you get the leftovers. So, it doesn’t matter how good you eat. The bacteria does thrive and multiply quickly on any carbohydrates.

              The website to get the stool analysis is: walkinlab.com.

              One VERY important step to getting rid of bad bacteria, is to break down the biofilm that bacteria builds around itself to protect from itself from any type of antibiotic. It’s made out of mainly carbohydrates.

              To break down the biofilm there are enzymes: Biofase,lactoferrin, Interfase, serratopepsidase, and nattokinase. Then take the antibiotics that you choose.

              I know I have the biofilm, because it has been on my tongue for ten years. I thought it was candida, but it’s not.

              Also I had to go on a very strict diet, for the biofilm degrading enzymes to work.

              I won’t go on anymore, but suggest that you get the stool analysis and go from there.

              Please post how you do.

              • Darlene, you said after more research you found out what to do. It may be helpful to share what it is you did and if you are now sibo free…

  12. In November 2016 I first wrote here about using Lugol’s 5% Iodine Solution to kill off my SIBO which I suffered with for 8 miserable years. I wrote in about 40 times, telling my story over and over and for what good? No one listens, because I think no one believed it. It was just too simple.
    SIBO is simply TOO MUCH PATHOGENIC BACTERIA living in about 10 feet of your gut. It causes all kinds of symptoms.
    Writers here have explained about all the different tests, all their symptoms and a myriad of drugs, antibiotics, alernative procedures you name it.
    It is JUST Bacteria and Iodine kills bacteria. Make sense?
    Why use anything else? It took me only 3 weeks to notice that I was “cured” but others may take longer.
    The word Iodine must scare people, but this is NOT the Iodine that our Mother’s used to put on scrapes and scratches. This is NOT for topical use. This was first brought to public attention around 1818 by Jacques Lugol and it was “all the doctors ever had in those days” until 1936, when Antibiotics were discovered. It even cured Syphilus among many other illnesses like Sinus Infections, Bladder infections, serious Gun Shot Wounds, amputations and so on.
    I write in here and a couple of people are interested in trying it but then the conversation peters off and no one sees what I have written. What is the point? Six months later I am back here again writing the same old thing. If Chris Kresser would somehow be able to RE-POST certain articles that would be great. Anyway, you can write me directly with any questions.

    • Bonnie, people may just not be posting what they’ve decided to do. Thank you for posting on what has worked.

    • Hi Bonnie, I’d love to ask you more questions about this as I’ve been reading mixed reviews. Some people swear by it, others advise against it. Can I ask how much you took and when you started to notice changes?
      Thank you!

      • Maria
        The amount of Iodine I took is in my first article (as mentioned above) in November 2016 but here it is again.

        I took Lugol’s Solution 5% = 1 drop per day in water for one week. Then 2 drops per day in water for the second week. Then 3 drops per day in water for the 3rd week. By the end of the 3rd week, the worst of the SIBO was gone. Then very soon after that, it was totally gone.

        Easy and simple.


        • Thank you Bonnie! I tired to search for your first article and couldn’t find it. Appreciate your response!

          • Hi Bonnie please do reply to the question asked above by Maria since it is very important to know whether there was any relapse.. I have researched quite a bit about SIBO and medicines like Xifaxan Atrantil and would want a final solution to this miserable problem I am facing from past 6 years

            • Relapse? You guys are too funny. All you want to do is diagnose and test and diagnose some more. What for?

              Is everyone afraid of Iodine?


              • I’m not afraid of iodine, just want to know if you have had any relapse. I talked to my gastro doctor and he has never heard of iodine as a cure except on blogs. I’m just looking for a cure and would like to know the simple answer.

                • Linda
                  Why would I have a relapse when I’m still using it? I cured the SIBO around 2008 and I still take it daily.
                  When I decided to use Lugol’s 5% Iodine, I was desperate. It was MY OWN IDEA since I then belonged to the Iodine Group and we were all using it.
                  What more can I tell you?


                • Thanks, Bonnie. I literally just came across your story this week and it’s the only one that caught my attention. I just ordered the iodine today. I do have one more question for you, were you on any medication for SIBO when you first started the Iodine?

                • Bonnie, I imagine you already know (but it’s good to talk!) – you mentioned you have been taking the iodine ever since; I have read that too much iodine can start to cause thyroid problems. It was advised to eventually stop the iodine, at least for a little while… a bit like they say, everything in moderation, balance is key but I have no doubt you know this side of it, just thought it may be helpful to share… Best wishes

                • Elizabeth

                  Iodine should never be stopped as it is absolutely essential for it’s Cancer protection and daily maintenance of Breast, Ovaries, Prostate and Thyroid health.

                  I maintain my health of the above glands with a TINY daily dose of Lugol’s 5% Iodine but when I CURED my SIBO, I used MUCH MORE.

                  I wonder why a discussion of taking Iodine, repels so many people?


                • Don’t worry I agree with taking lugol’s Iodine! Whatever problem in the world it contain’s the seed of its very solution…

              • Hi Bonnie, last question i promise. 🙂 Are you taking any additional supplements with this to make it effective? Some people suggest taking a few other vitamins to make this work and mention that it doesn’t without the extra supplement like selenium?

                • Maria
                  Taking Selenium is for assisting the T4 to T3 conversion in the Thyroid. I was taking the Iodine for the SIBO, not the Thyroid.

                  There is nothing out there that will help Iodine work better. It KILLS bacteria – PERIOD.

                • Hi Maria, it is best with selenium but if you are taking a good multivitamin it will/should already include that. Otherwise a good source is a couple of brazil nuts! Best

              • You realize Iodine is toxic and too much can cause long-term effects on the organs, right?

                • Android
                  Iodine is definitely NON-TOXIC to the organs. Where did you ever get that idea? There are 4 organs in the body that need Iodine every single day in a Tiny Amount of only 2 drops daily. They are the Prostate, Breasts, Ovaries and Thyroid.
                  You need to do some research so you are better informed aye?

        • Thanks Bonnie
          My critters came back with a vengeance on 7.11.17. Will give it a try. Dr has been giving me alinia which does not fix the issues

          • Today is day 9 on iodine. I added 2 drops yesterday. Yesterday and today I have had stomach discomfort in the morning and many BMs. I’m not sure if this is the Iodine getting the bacteria out? I am taking the drops of iodine in the morning. The mornings are the worse time of day for me right now. Would love some feedback.

            • Hi Linda
              Just to let you know about Iodine and how it works. I just had a bad case of food poisoning and was going to go to the ER, but instead of, I decided to use the Iodine. The first day I took 16 drops divided morning and afternoon. Things got a bit better by that night. The next day, I took 12 drops, divided and it is almost gone now. But I will continue for a couple more days.
              So the 2 drops you are taking is really not enough, to settle things down. You might be afraid to take more, for a short time, but I would.

              • Hi Bonnie, I thought I was supposed to start with one drop and increase each week until symptoms go away. My symptoms last two days have just gotten worse. I was just wondering if this does happen to some people before they get better?

                • Linda
                  You have something going on in your gut right now and the amount of Iodine you are using, is not fixing it.
                  So you can either just put up with it and stay with what you’re doing or increase a wee bit to see if that makes a difference.

        • Hi Bonnie
          Thank you so much, I will start this ASAP but can you please tell me what I do with the 7% solution as I was unable to get the 5%. I live in Australia and they do not sell it here

          • 5% lugol’s is available in most chemists in Victoria. The chemist just orders it in and you have it in 36hrs. Fantastic improvement with 5% lugol’s after 14 years of agony in my large bowel.

      • Linda

        I was not on ANY medication for SIBO, never have been, never went to a doctor for it. I treat myself.

        Doctors are fairly useless and just want to experiment on us.

        Hope this answers your question.

        When the Iodine arrives, it would be a good idea to write me.


        • Bonnie, it’s Linda. My iodine has arrived. I’m ready to start. You asked me to write you before I start. Anything else I needed to know before? I was going to start with one drop in about six ounces of water. I will do that for one week and increase a drop each week as needed. Thanks.

          • Linda
            You never mentioned WHICH Iodine you bought and/or the strength, so how can I give advice when I don’t know?

            Some detail would be helpful.

              • Excellent Linda. Go for it.

                Follow how I used it and keep us informed as you go along, letting us know at what week, you notice various changes.

                • Day 1 and 2 were good. Today is day 3 and I have stomach pain and D this morning. Not sure if I should plow through or stop. I am doing 1 drop in water per day.

                • Get rid of the biofilm that the bacteria builds around itself for protection against attacks. Go to the website: yeastinfectionadvisor.com, and click on bad bacteria.

                • Janet, whatever you do, DON’T STOP THE IODINE!!

                  You’re probably thinking that the D is from the Iodine. No way. Iodine CURES DIAHREA.

                  STAY WITH IT GIRL.

                • Yes, stay with it. As soon as a person has a bit of an upset, they blame it on whatever it was (something new) they just started taking. In the case of Iodine, not much happens with the first 1 – 2 drops. So best not to blame the D on the Iodine.

                • Week number 2 with iodine. I had 5 out of 7 good days. I did increase to two drops today. I will keep you updated.

        • Have the iodine drops wored for anyone other than Bonnie on this site? Any side effects or reoccurrence?



    • Bonnie,

      I’ve been self medicating with literally 6 mg of Loperamide since probably i discovered it worked relatively after my appendectomy and a ileum resection due to my diagnosed Crohn’s Disease, in May of 2008. Since then, on good days i could plug up my system and cause a regular stool by drinking water in moderate amounts, and on bad days i’d get the ratio of food/too much water/forgetting to take loperamide.. and then i’d have fire burning “D” for a while. Anyway, due to working crazy hours at work, a ton of stress, and not sleeping right and eating basically whatever I wanted, i got some tonsillitis and got two shots of anti bacterial, prednisone and something else.. Anyway, i think this is when the antibacterial reset my system and I’ve had nothing but, gas, belching for a full our in the morning for probably 2 weeks straight if not more, bloating, sharp spasms in my guts, painful D and tons of anxiety and freaking out about all of this.

      Anyway, i’m now in warrior mode and of course i’m going to the stripped down to the SCD diet or BRAT diet in the next few days (06/27/17).. No sugar, got my probiotic going already, just ordered my oil of oregano to try and also I got Lugol’s Iodine solution that I will take.. So I wanted you to know that yes, we are listening and I’m going to try this.. So thank you very much no matter what.

      • Hello
        Glad to hear that you got my message and are going to try the Lugol’s 5% Iodine (or some other strength) and what exactly is your plan of action?

        You will need some Guidance using Iodine.

        • well, i joined up on the IODINE support facebook page that i saw mentioned here and i just read about the supporting vitamins (selenium, vit c, etc.) that are recommended to be able to absorb.. Also, its recommended to start taking all the support items two weeks before so that your body is prepared for the bromine flush that will likely occur. Apparently some people have side effects from that.. What do you think? I really want to find a local practitioner to also get some guidance but i have no idea if there is on in Houston, tx LOL

          • First of all, it would be helpful to know THE STRENGTH of the Iodine you have there.

            • Sorry about that.. I got the Lugol’s 2% but I can get the 5% if its just easier.. 2% you have to up the dosage I read.. it was a 2 pack of Lugol’s..

              • I guess you will have to do that Math, Mathew.

                Put the bottle in a dark place and use it once a day before 2:00 pm

                I used 5%, so if you’re using 2% just triple the amount I give you.

                NEVER MISS A DAY. One drop each day for one week in water or in an empty capsule. The dropper that should come with the Iodine should give you the same size drops each time.
                Week two – 2 drops per day.
                Week three – 3 drops per day.

                As simple as that.

                What do you think?

                • Sounds good.. I went ahead and got the 5% for simplicity sake so that works.. Today I started with starting iron, vit c, magnesium, a wholefoods multivitamin (i’ll check for selenium in that and some others) and i’m taking a great rated probiotic.

                  To confirm, should i take that for 2 weeks as a buildup and then start the 1 drop = 1 week ?

                • Mathew
                  There is no reason to wait. Just get at it and keep us informed of changes that you see and questions you might have. It took me 3 full weeks to be able to say – WOW.

                  But everyone is different and it may take you 6 weeks and 6 drops per day.

                  I had a stool test and that is where I got the idea to use Iodine. The bacteria had names and they were all PATHOGENIC and capable of causing much sickness, so I figured what else would kill them off?

                  It was totally my idea but what caused it, I believe was the SLOW MOTILITY that I had for years and didn’t know what to do about it. It turned out that I could SPEED UP my digestion, with a Thyroid pill, that I started on, AFTER I KILLED OFF all the bugs.


    • Bonnie,

      What company offers the comprehensive stool analysis that I don’t have to go through a physician in order to get the results? Thanks

      • Janet
        I am in Canada and we have no labs in this country, sorry I can’t help with this?

        • Thanks. I did find a company to do stool testing that deals directly with the patient, and am posting the info for anyone interested, h
          holistichealthinternational.com. The testing is done by Doctor’s Data.

    • Hi Bonnie
      I have been following your posts. I am not sure if I have sibo or not….no diagnosis…I have had ct scans, ultra sounds etc. Nothing except H. Pylori and I took the horrible antibiotics for it and it came back a second time and took another round of the antibiotics….thats been two years and I am feeling the symptoms returning but I also have the sibo symptoms as well.
      I purchased the Lugols 5% and it came in today.
      My question is: Does it have to be put in water? Can I do milk or juice? Just wanted to make sure before I start.
      Thanks so much for your posts, I think they help a lot more people than you even realize.

    • Hi Bonnie
      Haven’t heard from you since August 2017.
      Just one question, I started the Lugol’s Iodine and I wondered if I should stick to the Sibo diet now I am on the Iodine?
      Are you still taking it??

    • I haven’t heard anymore from you Bonnie?
      Would love to get in contact with you by email. I just have some questions about diet and Lugol’s solution,
      I am in my first week of taking it now

  13. Not sure if this question will be noticed since this is an older article but the article mentions the possiblility of a prokinetic agent to be helpful. What do you recommend as far as this is concerned?

  14. Very informative. On a side note, I would have a very hard time discussing my symptoms with a woman this attractive.

  15. I have been suffering for approx 7 years from excessive bloating… pains in upper stomach.. excessive constipation.. and all the other symptoms of SIBO. I have had so many test, many doctors, endoscopys, colonoscopys, blood tests, allergy tests, that I literally started feeling like a lab rat and gave up because all tests came back negative. My doctor basically gave up on me…and I had to get a new doctor…who still could not figure it out! FINALLY …. I went to a really great Natropath doctor who tested me for SIBO… and I almost cried with relief when I finally got a positive diagnosis. I finally know what’s going on… and now am starting treatment. I am so excited to hopefully getting rid of this.

    • So happy for you Susan! Thankfully I didn’t have to wait that long although my symptoms have been a mystery until now. I want to go the botanical route and am now searching for the right person to help!

    • Hi I want to know where can u get the tritment my mother is going throw the same pain she cnt walk, having pains in her tummy, the skin evn burns ever since she stated taking her suger diabetic medication. I’m hopeless now Dr’s dd all the tests couldn’t find anything

  16. I was finally diagnosed with SIBO after 7 years of seeing Doctors whom diagnosed me with IBS. I went to Morocco in 2010 and brought Giardia back with me. This is what certainly caused my SIBO. I saw a Naturopath and was prescribed an herbal protocol followed by the SCD diet. I’m 117 lbs. – I’ve lost about 3 lbs. (I’ve always been small) after quitting gluten, sugar, and dairy. I’m fine with those restrictions, but the SCD diet felt way to limiting to me. So, I searched and found a nutritionist who prescribed 16 oz. celery juice every morning (to increase the HCL), bioactive silver, cats claw, zinc, vitamin c, lemon balm, and probiotics. I also use the Interphase plus for biofilms. I’m only on day 3 of 14. This is to be followed by continuing gluten, sugar, and dairy free along with probiotics, and… that’s it. No more dietary restrictions. She says she has great success with this and rarely anyone with recurrences. Has anyone tried this? Anyone tried Cat’s Claw? I’m concerned about it since it increases immunity, which, to me, is worrisome because that’s how allergies, auto immune conditions, etc., begin (I think). Anyone have luck with Cat’s Claw without super negative side effects?

  17. I was diagnosed with Sibo last July. Since then I’ve had to do three sets of treatments of 550mg Xifaxin 3 times a day for 10 days, 10 days off then repeat one or two more times. I also suffer from IBS, gastritis, stomach ulcers and gerd as well as have had gastric bypass.
    I currently don’t have insurance but once I do I plan on going back to my gastroenterologist to see if there is another treatment I can try since the xifaxin doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.
    I haven’t been able to get any other information on what else to try so if anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly greatly appreciated!

    • I tried that too and it didn’t work. I’ve tried nearly everything I’ve seen on this blog but here’s what is working for me. A nuturtionist friend said it’s the only thing she’s ever seen cure sibo. She said it can take many months to a year along w/ taking high dose probiotics + bacillus coagulans (5, 2x/day)

      Berberine (by thorne) or Coptis (by zhang hepapro.com is a more highly concentrated version of Berberine). I use coptis. my goals is to take 6/day.

      I had to start with 1 every few days about 3 months ago and am now at 3/day. It’s a lot better, almost no bloating or diarrhea now but not 100% yet. Each time I took one, my diarrhea would flare badly. I also take some detox stuff to “clean up the dead bacteria” that berberine kills. that helps too. It’s a long, slow process, not an overnight fix but worth it.

      I eat super healthy & no gluten, sugar, alcohol or coffee at first. Now I can eat some gluten & most high fodmap foods. Still careful & avoid sugar & alcohol. I think it’ll take another 3-6 mo but will be worth it,

      I also take collagelatin, whey protein powder & drink some of George’s brand aloe vera.

      • Hey, it’s interesting that you mention Bacillus Coagulans, since that’s been about the only thing to have ever really helped me, but only temporarily though.
        I suspect that I have rather mild SIBO and IBS, since it’s mostly a lot of gassiness I deal with all the time.
        I’d be interested to know:
        -What strains of other probiotics you use
        -How much berberine (in terms of mgs) you take
        -after what time you can expect any improvement
        -is the cure permanent? r do you need to keep taking it?
        -Does going on a low fodmap diet help with the treatment?
        -And do you have any source for the numbers you cite?

        Thanks in advance.

        • Other pro-biotics I take include Gut Pro from organic3, VSL3, saccharomyces boulardii, klaire labs therbiotic, soil-based epibiotic from epigeneticslabs. I rotate a bit & take probiotics 3x.day. I take a few other higher dose brands that I find from time to time as well.

          My doctors say the cure can be permanent but it involves being very strict w/ diet for months since my case is severe. They suggested others w/less severe case could be cured in 1-2 months if no sugar, gluten consumed & if you follow regimine w/berberine + garlic (allimax). I noticed improvement in a few weeks after flare of diarrhea (as bacteria die).

          The product I take for cleaning up dead bacteria is optimoxx from epigeneticslabs and I’ve gone through several rounds of that.

          Low-fodmap minimizes my symptoms & makes me more comfortable, especially in the beginning it helped more but now that my gut is improving I can eat more high fodmap w/less discomfort.

          Zhang Coptis contains 230mg of Chinese Goldthread rhizome (basically berberine) in 1 capsule. Thorne berberine says 500mg of berberine HCL in 1 capsule. My practitioners say the Zhang product is more concentrated & more powerful. I’ve tried both & I agree w/my docs.

          Time estimates for me to recover are based on what my doctors tell me. It has taken me about 3 months to work up to 6 capsules/day of Zhang coptis. Diarrhea got worse at first & w/each increase for a while.

          I am also going to add Allimed (a garlic product) you can google it, because that is supposed to help kill sibo too – according to my practioners.

      • How many mg per day of berberine are you taking? I’ve been taking 450 mg per day in divided dosages, along with other herbs in the supplement, that my Dr. recommended. I don’t know if the dosage is high enough to eliminate the specific pathogenic bacteria that I have. Also, have been on a very restrictive diet.

    • Hi Amanda, if I were you I would read through the comments on here particularly the most recent you should find helpful. Also try a large glass of straight celery juice on an empty stomach every morning see how you feel after 2 weeks. Wish you well.

        • Hi Sasha, Google is your friend and will give you more information but celery juice is the most healing juice you can find. Every morning on an empty stomach, consume a large glass of celery juice and you should notice a difference to health in as little as a week. (Have a look at the Medical Medium). Also I am not sure what you are suffering with but have a look at Lugol’s iodine, Bonnie who has commented on this thread has also left some helpful information. Best wishes

    • I was diagnosed with Celiacs at age 37. Fine for a year then diagnosed with Sibo. Ultimately I believe antibiotics were the cause of this. They kill ALL the bacteria, good and bad. I took Xifaxin thinking what could it hurt, but didn’t work. Currently starting low Fodmap diet for few weeks then Gaps diet while taking essential oils to keep bad bacteria at ease. My family hasn’t taken antibiotics in 2 years other than that Xifaxin. Essential oils people.

    • Amanda, I felt like I was reading my story. I’be been suffering for almost 2 years. Thank you for posting your story!

    • Amanda, I didnt really want to take antibiotics. Received results of sibo test last week. MD/Functional medicine practitioner recommended Candibactrin BR and Candibactrin AR build up to 1 caosule 2x and 2 tablets 2x daily right after meals. Then to add 1 drop per day of liquid Biocin.
      Are you following a strict diet? I started AIP last March, have had to layer low fodmaps on top of that.
      Saw almost immediate improvement when I began herbals. Not a straight path though.

  18. It’s a lot of fun to read all your stories! What is curious all of them correlate with mine. The only point is that I have severe and persistent acne on top of that along with ridiculously low testosterone i.e. around 4 nmol=100 ng/dl.
    Similarly have faced all that nasty experience of taking useless antibiotics, chronic depression, quite poor diet at the time when my skin flared up first time… then obviously it translated into dramatic underweight, indigestion, bloating you name it… Same old, same old.
    I wish you all good luck, I wish I could help all of you and myself by extension. Ill let you know if I finally manage to beat this condition into submission. Please don’t give up.

  19. I believe my case started from a trip to Asia where a had a case of food poison, after returning I had a second case of food poison 8 weeks later, I was fine for about 3 months when I got the worse case of bloating and pressure in my intestines I have every had. I took so many doses of Gas-x, antacids and other remedies, which seemed to last about 3-4 days, after that I started to experience cramping, diarrhea, horrible stomach pains, I couldn’t each much without feeling sick. I saw the doctors that sent me to GI specialists, all they offered for help was to go on the GAPS diet or FODMAPS diet. My family doctor did blood test said it showed I had a previous parasite which she gave me a 2 week dose of antibiotics. I felt 90% better while on the antibiotics and 1 week after going off them they prescribed them again as I started to feel worse again. Finally after getting worse again going off the antibiotics the second time, I decided to see a Naturopathic doctor. upon seeing her she did the SIBO Breath test and Candida blood test. They both came back positive. She wanted to go the natural route first trying garlic, rosemary, oregano, a tincture, berberine, none of it which helped in any way. After that she gave me a prescription for Rifaximin for 2 weeks which helped greatly, but after the 2 weeks, symptoms started creeping back, so I asked her to prescribe the maximum dose, As this is what I have read MUST be done, she did (550 mg 3 times daily, and after 2 weeks I went on the strict 30 day “SIBO” diet (mild cheating with some sugars). After that the symptoms were gone except for some after effect symptoms. She tried giving me some other items to help, GI revive (made me sick, so never took it), L-Glutimine (again after one dose made me extremely sick, so never took it again) I have been taking erythromycin (very small dose) as a Prokinetic, 60 days worth. When I came off the Rifaximin about 2 weeks later the SIBO was gone and Candida was in normal range. Now I am taking Floristor probiotics and a 5 strain custom probiotics along with a plant enzyme (1 daily) and a candida tablet (1 tablet daily), its been about 2 months and am feeling great. I eat somewhat according to the Fodmaps diet, but cheat regularly. I am hoping its all behind me and never want to experience that again. I lost 30 pounds in 5 months and wish anyone who has this the best of luck. My advise is you must do a strong dose (Maximum allowable dose) of Rifaximin and follow up with the diet, etc after.

    • I also have SIBO. I agree with you the rifaximin works but it seems I have to keep taking it every nine months or so and it’s outrageously expensive. Although the antibiotics work I feel like it’s just putting a Band-Aid on the problem and not getting to the root of the real cause, which I still haven’t figured out. My gut feeling is that it’s a motility disorder or a brain malfunction but I don’t know what to do to test for this we are going to 100 doctors.
      What do you think?

      • Hi Cheryl,

        I agree with you – I think that for many folks, SIBO is a secondary condition to a larger root cause. I discovered that my Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections are what allows my SIBO to come, since my Lyme Disease compromises my gut big-time.

        • Oh my goodness! I am on my second bout with Lyme now! This has just become a problem for me. So glad to see you posted this. I was beginning to think I was going insane.

          • Carolyn, I’m so sorry to hear you’re on your second round with Lyme. What a complete nightmare!

            Yes – I’ve talked to many people that have both Lyme and SIBO – it’s becoming increasingly common…

            My theory is that Lyme inflames nerves – and for people like us – there is inflammation in the involuntary nervous sytem surrounding the gut (called the enteric nervous system) and particularly the Vagus nerve. Because this system of nerves is inflamed/impaired, peristalsis is poor, therefore creating an environment where SIBO can thrive….a very hard and long battle to fight!

        • Same with me! It took so long to diagnose and now intestines slowly improving after being on Lyme treatment.

      • You need to replenish your good bacteria. Antbiotics kill everything. Thats why you feel ok until the bad bacteria builds up again. I would stay away from antibiotics. They are root cause of these problems. Try low Fodmap diet then rebuild uour pribiotics.

    • I have been diagnosed with sibo & IBS constipation. I am doing herbal treatment for almost two months. I still feel horrible. Bloated & constant stomach pain. How long before saw improvement. I am also on the sink diet

  20. I have suffered with IBS since childhood…pain, bloating, discomfort, diarrhea alternating with constipation, gas, belching (I also have GERD). I’ve been on Nexium 40mg for over 15 years now. Throughout it all I have had occasional green stools during bowel movements. However lately…for approximately the past 6 month “most” of my BM’s are dark green even when I’m constipated. I am a young 71 years old and as far as I know I am healthy. The green stools have me freaking out. Can SIBO cause this? I’m scared and have my yearly physical with my doctor in Feb 2017 but the green stools have me really stressed out. Has anyone else had that happen?

      • Hi Chris…was the reply you posted here on Jan 23rd in response to my “chronic green stool”? I can’t tell if your response was to my post or someone else’s. Thanks so much!
        Jackie Lattanzio

        • The formatting on my page shows he wrote it directly under your comment, so I’d assume that he was talking to you. 🙂

        • Jackie,
          Do you eat any berries (, especially blueberries or blackberries) or anything with blue food coloring frequently? That too, will cause green stool.

        • In Traditional Chinese Medicine green stool can be an indication of liver or gallbladder distress. A doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine or an acupuncturist can often help with this.

    • To the person who asked about the dark green stools. I have them too but I associate them with magnesium use or laxatives (I do not take Miralax-one molecule away from plastic). My understanding is that the stool didn’t have enough time to digest properly. It’s a tricky balance to get your magnesium intake right. I get mucusy stool with too much magnesium too. Sticking to the GAPS/Paleo/FODMAP/SCD diets (which ever fits your issue) will help greatly. I know it’s hard to keep up with but once you actually get all the junk out of your diet and are away from wheat, processed foods, high carbs, sugar, and GMOs you will have a major turn around. Changed my family’s life forever and cured (yes I said cured) my son’s diagnosed autism. I am forever grateful to Dr Heather Tallman Ruhm in NH for saving us. She got us the right path.