Signs, Symptoms, and Types of Gut Dysbiosis

Gut Dysbiosis: SIBO and SIFO

Gut dysbiosis refers to a gut microbiota imbalance in the microbial community within the gastrointestinal tract. This imbalance can occur when there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria or a decrease in beneficial bacteria.

Gut dysbiosis symptoms can be caused by chronic illness, poor diet, stress, and antibiotic use. When the gut microbiota is disrupted, it can lead to various health issues, including digestive problems, inflammation, weakened immune systems, and even mental health disorders. Restoring a healthy balance of gut bacteria through dietary changes, probiotics, and other interventions can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Types of Intestinal Microbial Imbalances: SIFO and SIBO

Small intestinal fungal overgrowth, SIFO, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, are both types of gut dysbiosis. SIFO and SIBO autoimmune are considered forms of gut dysbiosis and can significantly impact a person’s digestive health.

  • SIFO is caused by an overgrowth of fungi in the small intestine, which can result in symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
  • SIBO is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, and malabsorption of nutrients.

If left untreated, both types of gut dysbiosis, SIFO, and SIBO, can cause unplanned weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and bone loss. Gut dysbiosis can damage the small intestine’s lining and drive increased intestinal permeability, often called leaky gut. When this happens, protein molecules pass through the small intestine into the bloodstream, triggering immune reactions that cause food allergies or sensitivities, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.

Top Twelve Causes of Gut Dysbiosis, SIFO and SIBO

Research is ongoing to find specific causes of SIFO and SIBO. It is important to note that while SIFO shares some similarities with SIBO, the causes and treatment approaches for these conditions differ. Proper diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare professional are crucial for managing both effectively. In general, gut dysbiosis symptoms, symptoms of sibo, and sifo symptoms are likely from a culmination of many factors related to lifestyle, eating  habits, health status, medication, and stress, including:

  1. A diet low in fiber can create an ideal environment for SIFO and SIBO. Fiber improves the movement of food, nutrients, and waste through the digestive tract and acts as a fertilizer to feed beneficial bacteria.
  2. Anti-spasm medications used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can slow the movement of food and waste through the GI tract, which limits the balance of healthy bacteria.
  3. Diverticulosis, or tiny bulging pouches (diverticula) in the small intestine, may lead to gut dysbiosis symptoms.
  4. Emotional stress impacts serotonin levels in the gut, thus altering gut motility.
  5. Regular alcohol consumption and eating too many simple carbohydrates from sweet or starchy foods feed harmful bacteria and fungi.
  6. Frequent use of antibiotics can alter the balance of bacteria in the small intestine and allow for fungal bacteria to thrive.
  7. `Gastroparesis — a condition that affects the stomach muscles or nerves, inhibiting proper muscle function – can result in inadequate food grinding and impaired emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine.
  8. Low stomach acid from long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs, medications used to reduce stomach acid, or hypochlorhydria — a condition in which the stomach doesn’t produce enough acid. Stomach acid helps break down food, thus preventing it from decomposing in the gut, and it kills potentially harmful bacteria and fungi.
  9. Narcotic medications weaken the muscle contractions that move food through the digestive system.
  10. Surgery like gastric bypass surgery may change the small intestine’s structure and lead to symptoms.
  11. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can affect the function of the GI tract. One cause may be the damage to the vagus nerve’s ability to regulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is associated with the microbiome and the communication highway between our brain and gut. For more, please read Using Brain Science to Accelerate Healing
    and Restoring Health Through the Vagus Nerve.
  12. New research shows that Lyme disease, from a Borrelia burgdorferi infection, can cause autoimmune responses in the gut and Crohn’s disease.

SIFO Treatment

SIFO allows for fungi to increase in the small intestine. The most common is the Candida species in the small intestine. The imbalance of gut microbiota causes symptoms of bloating, gas, pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. Diagnosis is often challenging, as SIFO shares symptoms with other gastrointestinal disorders, but there are tests used in integrative medicine that can help pinpoint the cause. The most common symptoms that differ from SIFO include:

  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Distention
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines

Tests for SIFO include the Comprehensive Organic Acids Test, the GI-MAP, a comprehensive three-day stool analysis, and the Vibrant Wellness Wheat Zoomer test. When you see a doctor who uses integrative medicine to treat SIFO, they will focus on restoring the gut microbiome balance and removing the damaging fungi in the small intestine. An integrative treatment typically involves a combination of antifungal compounds, dietary supplements, and medicinal botanicals to support intestinal lining repair, prebiotics, and probiotics to restore the balance of gut bacteria and improve activity and exercise to enhance motility.

SIBO Treatment

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth disrupts the average balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to various digestive symptoms. SIBO occurs when the bacteria from the large intestine migrate into the small intestine, where they are not supposed to be in large numbers. This can happen due to various factors, such as a weakened immune system, structural abnormalities in the digestive system, or impaired small intestine movement.

Common symptoms of SIBO include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and malabsorption of nutrients. Diagnosis is typically made through a breath test that measures the levels of hydrogen and methane gases the bacteria produces.

Integrative treatment of treatment for SIBO usually involves a combination of therapies to reduce bacterial overgrowth, along with dietary changes to support gut health. It is essential to address SIBO promptly, as untreated cases can lead to long-term complications and nutrient deficiencies.

SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is closely linked to leaky gut syndrome. The relationship between SIBO and leaky gut is a vicious cycle. A leaky gut can contribute to SIBO by disrupting the balance of bacteria in the small intestine. At the same time, SIBO can exacerbate a leaky gut by causing inflammation and further compromising the integrity of the intestinal lining. Therefore, addressing SIBO and leaky gut is crucial for restoring gut health and alleviating symptoms.

SIFO, SIBO, Low FODMAP Diet, and Keto Diet

It is common for people with SIFO and SIBO to follow a Low FODMAP Diet. FODMAPs are foods containing hard-to-digest carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols and is typically used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal disorders. A Low FODMAP diet effectively treats these conditions because it starves harmful bacteria and fungi.

FODMAP foods are osmotic (pull water into the intestinal tract) and may not be digested or absorbed well. FODMAP foods are fermented by bacteria in the intestinal tract when eaten in excess and cause problems.

The FODMAP foods in the diet include:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc.)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin, etc.)
  • Galatians (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc.)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.)

Another diet proven effective in starving harmful bacteria and fungi is the keto diet, which is high in healthy fats and proteins and extremely low in carbohydrates.

When it comes to adjusting your diet, the most common problem foods and substances for people with SIBO include the following:

  • Dairy
  • Garlic
  • Glutenous grains
  • Onions
  • Sugary foods
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol

In summary, Restoration Healthcare offers integrative treatments for SIBO and SIFO that aim to manage gut dysbiosis, including removing foods, enhancing digestion, repairing the gut lining, and rebalancing the microbiome.

If you are experiencing these chronic symptoms, we encourage you to contact an experienced integrative and functional medicine practitioner or sibo doctor Los Angeles to test for SIBO or SIFO. If you live in Orange County or Los Angeles and believe you have gut dysbiosis, please get in touch with our clinic today to request a patient packet.