Self-Care Tips For Living With SIBO
Why is self-care important? Receiving the news you have SIBO can have two sides: on one hand, you may feel happy and relieved to finally have a diagnosis of what’s causing your symptoms. On the other hand, you may feel overwhelmed with what you need to do to resolve the issue.
The treatment for SIBO usually involves a restrictive diet with antibiotics, herbal antimicrobials, or other supplements. Or perhaps you’ve been living with SIBO for a long time and can’t seem to get rid of it no matter how you try.
Unfortunately, SIBO can be tricky to resolve because to remove it completely you need to address the underlying cause. The cause of SIBO can be due to a myriad of things. Examples being an impaired migrating motor complex (the movement that clears the intestines of debris in between meals), or perhaps you have adhesions from previous surgery.
Because of the stress SIBO can place on the mind and body, self-care is absolutely essential and perhaps in my view as both a health practitioner and from personal experience, the most important part of treatment.
Don’t underestimate stress, it truly can wreak havoc on your body.
There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress is the kind that’s motivating, like when you are working on something you enjoy but it is challenging. Bad stress can be described as ongoing emotional stress. Which can be from a range of issues such as working too hard and long hours, or being in a toxic relationship. Bad or chronic stress impairs the immune system, causes high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and contributes to your gut issues.
Managing stress is an ongoing journey for many. Find some stress-relieving activities that you love and do them regularly; whether it’s participating in sport, going hiking, or practicing yoga, movement can really help both your mind and body, especially your gut.
As a yoga teacher and someone who regularly meditates, I highly recommend it for stress management. Meditation isn’t easy but with regular practice, you’ll start to experience the benefits.
Mindfulness is simply a state of awareness. It can be described as an awareness of the present moment, without judgment or attaching to your thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation is the type of meditation I personally practice and also teach, it’s been shown to reduce worry and stress, improves memory and focus, and decrease emotional reactivity.1 It’s a powerful tool and when practiced regularly you can start to experience the benefits.
If you have SIBO, no doubt you’re taking supplements. If you have chronic or ongoing SIBO that is difficult to treat, it’s likely you’ll need to be taking supplements to not just help with your symptoms, but help you digest and absorb your food properly.
Some of my favorite supplements that I use with my SIBO patients include:
- Digestive enzymes can help break down fats and carbohydrates in the small intestine.
- Betaine hydrochloride is helpful in cases of low stomach acid which is essential for breaking down and absorbing protein.
- Magnesiumis often depleted in SIBO and because of stress. This mineral offers a range of benefits including supporting stress and anxiety.
- Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum or PHGG, is a form of soluble fiber and a prebiotic. It can support both the treatment of SIBO (using herbal antimicrobials or antibiotics) and is also helpful for symptom management.
There can be a range of nutrient deficiencies resulting from SIBO, so it’s best to get your blood checked regularly and to supplement as needed.
Working with a qualified health practitioner is always the best approach, so you can be assured you are on the right diet and taking the right supplements.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?