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Im a 24 year old male who has always care about my health even from a young age. I grew up always loving being strong and enjoying what I thought was good health. So I lived in a oblivious dream world until a couple of months ago when my adolescent fueled sense of invincibility was shattered when I discovered I have ADD. It made perfect sense seeming to explain all my shortcomings in life and made me look at myself much more objectively. I wasnt this awesome person with nothing wrong with me, I am a flawed human with defects deserving of attention. I began to think about how I have always had digestive issues and that maybe there was something else going on with me and I shouldnt ignore it anymore.

So after a little research online I concluded that it was probably an intolerance to gluten and with the help of websites like this one I embarked on a gluten-free diet. About two weeks after starting the diet I began to feel worse and chocked it up to detoxing but after another week of feeling the same I cut lactose out too. I do feel healthier in some ways but my stomach problems still persist along with a sense that I feel poisoned. While surfing for the cause I stumbled across a little discussed syndrome called SIBO and it seemed to fit my situation very well.

SIBO is a condition that is caused by to much bacteria in the upper intestine causing food to not be digested properly and can appear in many ways to emulate Celiac, IBS, Crones and other digestive conditions. Treatment is a round of antibiotics that temporarily alleviate symptoms but will undoubtedly return unless a change is diet implemented. The change in diet is scary to think of and its very similar to gluten free but much worse.

Gluten must be eliminated along with all legumes and foods that are high in sugar/fructose. Also simple things like chewing gum can make it worse due to ingredients like sorbitol and xylitol. Fewer meals eaten throughout the day are encouraged to help your stomach clear out the contents and push bacteria further down. Drinking lots of water and getting exercise are also important to aid digestion. Here is a partial list of foods to stay away from

Gluten- All wheat but also most grains due to starch

Legumes- All beans and peanuts are legumes

Foods high in Fructans- Onions, artichokes, pasta, bread and pastries

Lactose- Casin could be a culprit also so eliminate until you can give it a test period

Raw veggies- salads, high starchy veggies (these are all hard to digest)

Mushrooms- All types promote bacteria growth

Foods high in Fructose- Fruit, honey, dehydrated fruit and anything sweetened with fructose

Artificial sweeteners- Sorbitol, Xylitol, mannitol, isomalt, erithrytol, arabitol, erythritol, glycol, glycerol, lactitol, ribitol

This leaves very little that I can eat and leaves me with a constant hunger. Mainly all Im allowed is cooked veggies, meat, nuts and 1 or 2 bananas a day. I am very open to new diet tips and suggestion or comments about SIBO since I could find very little info on it. Some of the food I listed is allowed in occasional moderation but Im steering clear of most regardless as I cant afford antibiotics and I want a permanent solution. Is there anyone out there who has conquered their SIBO?

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I conquered SIBO. I had the test and did the round of antibiotics and stuck to the low FODMAP diet which is basically avoiding the foods in the list you have above. It took a couple of months to fully heal. I'm ok now and have been able to add some foods back into my diet. I do eat gluten-free grains, beans, mushrooms and lactose-free cheese and yogurt in small amounts. I use sorbitol free toothpaste and gum. For sweetner I use regular table sugar or maple syrup. I still avoid all high fructose foods, most fruits and avoid onions, asparagus, artichokes and garlic. I know when I've eaten too many tomatoes for example because I get some symptoms (acid reflux, stomach cramps). I did indulge a bit over the holidays and I'm still fine. It's all about moderation and balance which you can achieve through trial and error and keeping a detailed food diary. Once the SIBO is clear and gone you'll feel so much better. The constant hunger goes away. (I was so worried it wouldn't) I have actually forgotten to eat on occasion. That never would have happened before. The bacteria wants to be fed constantly. The diet won't make a lick of difference until you get some antibiotics in you. I started the FODMAP diet in June and went through the testing and then antibiotics in August. I didn't really start to feel better and like my old self until Oct/Nov. I have not been able to pinpoint when I developed SIBO but believe I had it for years, possibly as many as 3 or 4. The signs are (now I know looking back): constant hunger, grumbly stomach, all over body inflammation, joint pain, inexplicable weight gain and food intolerence type reactions to all foods.

Get tested soon so you can get the meds. You may also want to be tested for fructose malabsorption as this too can mimic SIBO, celiac, Crohn's, etc.

Good luck!

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Thank you so much! Im glad to know there are people out there who know about this and for the tip about the toothpaste which never crossed my mind. I am not to thrilled about how long the recovery takes or about needing antibiotics though :\

I dont have any insurance so I have to pay for everything out of pocket so with the doc visit, test and the meds im looking at over $400. So short of buying the meds without a doc visit my recovery could be postponed for a few months. But im not gonna give up that easily (ill ship from mexico if I have to lol) and Im going to continue with this diet in the mean time with recovery being my sole motivator. But if anyone has anymore food or recipe tips I would greatly appreciate the added dimension to my very bleak diet structure.

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I'm very interested in this. What is the test? Is that what you ask for at the Dr.'s? A SIBO test? I am going to look into that. Thank you very much for your post. Sorry I can't be of help, but you have been a help to me. :)

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I didn't know anything about SIBO until the doc mentioned it. I never would have known that's what my core issue was on my own even though I had been trying to get to the root of my GI issues for 5+ years.

The test is hydrogen breath test like you said. You drink something and then they take breath samples every 20 mins or so. I spent most of the time going back and forth to the bathroom which I guess is a good indicator that I was positive. If you can get the meds from Mexico or Canada then go for it. I didn't notice any improvement on the diet alone. Then again I believe I had SIBO for years. I'm sure I had a lot of bacteria to conquer. I was eating a bland diet of bananas, rice and chicken and still reacting. That's how nasty the SIBO can be.

I don't find the diet too restrictive at all. I keep a spread sheet that helps me manage what I can eat. I've never been a huge fruit eater so that is not a big deal for me. I can have citrus, bananas, avocados, berries and cooked apples. All in small amts of course. I've never been a fan of brown rice so that's easy to avoid. I do notice almonds bother me but other nuts have not been an issue. I'm already gluten, lactose and soy free so no biggie there.

One other thing I want to mention is that my scope showed colitis. Doc thinks this may be due to the SIBO and it should clear up. I guess that is one of the dangers of untreated SIBO. I also had a lot of inflammation, head to toe, that docs chalked up to my RA. Once I healed that all went away.

I've found a lot of help about the FODMAP diet by following the FM (fructose malabsorption) groups on Yahoo. One out of Aussie and one USA. We share the same diet but for different reasons so there will be some vaiation. Sue Shepherd and Monash University seem to be the diet experts. Google them for more info.



HFCS and sorbitol and xylitol can be hard to avoid but here are some products (all gluten-free too):

This is the toothpaste I use. It's pricey but I find it lasts a long time since it's just me using it: http://www.auromere.com/Dental_Care-Toothpaste.html

This is my fave gum: http://www.gleegum.com/

Soda made with cane sugar: http://www.hansens.com/

Lip balm: http://www.softlips.com/products.php

Hope this helps!

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