From the age of 29 to 34 I had severe IBS symptoms that seemed to be getting worse. After a year-long supplement protocol and strict diet, I was able to reverse all my food allergies and stay symptom-free for the last 10 years.
That means I could eat anything and didn’t have to take supplements or worry about my digestive health. The ideal outcome.
I believed I was done with IBS forever. I rebuilt confidence in my body.
This past January, about 5 months ago, the bloating started.
This time around I didn’t spend years of stress and money trying to figure it out. I knew exactly what to do. I tested myself for SIBO.
The test came back positive. And to my knowledge this is the first time I had it. But luckily I knew exactly what to do as I had become quite the expert on SIBO.
IBS did come back but this time it was a much milder case. Just bloat and brain fog. I was able to treat it before it turned into anything worse like gut leaky, sluggish bowels, malnutrition or food allergies.
With SIBO, it’s not only important to treat it properly with diet and anti-microbials but also to figure out what caused the bacterial overgrowth in the first place?
A few weeks ago I finally found out. I tested myself for h pylori, a bacterial overgrowth of the stomach which can lower stomach acid. Low stomach acid is a major cause of SIBO. As is slow motility.
While most people experience ulcers, heart burn/GERD/reflux, or stomach aches with h pylori, my only symptoms were burping after meals and after drinking water. But I had h pylori before and successfully treated it, so I wondered if it had come back?
And it had.
H pylori can cause SIBO by lowering your stomach’s ability to produce acid. Without adequate stomach acid, the bacteria you ingest through probiotics, food or beverages are not properly destroyed by stomach acid, which is your number one defense against organism and pathogens entering your body. That excess bacterial made it to my small intestine and due to motility issues I was unable to clear them. I also fed them with my healthy but high FODMAP diet. I ate garlic and onions with everything.
Slow motility is can be caused by multiple things, but the number one cause is stress. I was experiencing a ton of stress just before I got SIBO.
It was the perfect storm. H pylori plus high stress was the root cause of my SIBO.
My SIBO recovery was smooth and speedy. But even when I cleared SIBO, and the bloating was gone, I still didn’t feel great. That’s when I retested for h pylori. If the SIBO treatment doesn’t work there is likely another pathogen causing problems. As SIBO is cleared the immune system turns it’s attention to fighting the next pathogen, and different symptoms can result, like fatigue, body aches, nausea, and chills in my case. These symptoms were slightly flu like.
The healing process is often challenging and emotional, sometimes it feels like it’s never ending.
But when you know what’s going on it’s so much easier and you can form a plan and you can see an end to it. You have to move towards it with faith. Easier said than done sometimes.
The protocol I’ve created for myself for h pylori is a mastic gum and bismuth based supplement called Pyloricil. I take one with each meal because it irritates me on an empty stomach.
I also take some DGL liquorice 10 minutes before my meal to help rebuild the lining of my stomach. H pylori can inflame and damage stomach lining, that is how it causes ulcers in some people.
If the bismuth ingredient causes in Pyloricil cause problems there’s a bismuth-free alternative called Gastromend that is mainly mastic gum but also includes liquorice and zinc carnosine for stomach lining repair as well as vitamin C and vitamin U (found in cabbage) for immune support.
Biofilms are also an issue with h pylori and that is what can prevent antibiotics or antibacterial herbs from working. The bacteria can hide under these shields they build out of the toxins and other material in your body. So you need to break those biofilms down to properly treat the infections. For that I am using Biocidin 5 drops on my tongue or in water also a few minutes before a meal.
The first time around I treated with Matula tea for a month. It’s pricey but it works well with minimal die off symptoms. It’s an antibacterial tea from South Africa, with a mild taste and works wonders at clearing h pylori infection, while simultaneous fighting candida, which I also tested positive for.
I’m not directly treating the candida because I believe it’s an opportunistic infection resulting from SIBO and h pylori. Treating those two will resolve candida. I will still follow a lower carb, low FODMAP diet for a few months to make sure the SIBO does not return, and that also helps starve candida.
Last time I successfully battled h pylori I used a 30 course of Matula tea 2 teabags daily between meals. And it worked. This time I am using it together with the other h pylori fighting supplements I mentioned above. You can only buy Matula online, directly from South Africa, right here.
The plan is to retest 4 weeks after stopping all herbs. And I plan on treating myself for 2 months.
I’m taking other precautions. H pylori is contagious. When h pylori doesn’t go away after treatment it could be because a family member has it and keeps passing it back to you. My husband was tested and he’s negative but I also testing my dog because they can get it too and he is always licking me.
I started my treatment two weeks ago and will keep you posted.
The best way to test for h pylori is a single sample stool test.
If you think you might have h pylori or are wondering if it’s the cause of your SIBO and need help with testing you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The test is done by mail and is $100 payable directly to the lab.
Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.