Post-SIBO Treatment Round 1 Recap
This is a continuation of my gut health journey. I am not a medical professional, so I encourage you to see a medical professional if you are experiencing symptoms so that they can help guide your personal journey.
Last week I completed my 6-week SIBO treatment (GI Synergy by Apex Energetics), and I am happy to report that I've been feeling pretty good lately.
I'll say that I know I'm not 100% in the clear, and I've been told by my functional medicine practitioner that SIBO often requires at least 12 weeks of treatment. I think that I'm one of those people who will have to continue treatment beyond this first round, since I have still been experiencing symptoms. I will say that my symptoms are far shorter lived than they had been previously (i.e. when I am symptomatic, it tends to go away within an hour or a few hours rather than lasting ALL day).
Over the last 6 weeks of the GI Synergy treatment, I have also been sticking very strictly to the low FODMAP diet, and making modifications where I need to (i.e. where my personal body is asking). For example, on this diet, there are some fruits that are supposed to be okay for low FODMAP, but I have found that most fruits (almost all) give me trouble, so I have stayed strictly away from fruits during this time. There are other modifications I've made, but I think you get the point that every body is different, and this diet is a good starting point for people to use as a guide, and then make adjustments where needed so that you're eating foods that serve your body and don't further irritate it.
At the beginning of the GI Synergy treatment, I had mild die-off symptoms, including dull headaches and some nausea. I also had hot flashes, where I would start overheating and having to shed layers (this is during the winter), and then after 10 minutes or so I'd come back down to regular temperature and be fine.
I would have some good days, followed by bad days. At times, this up-and-down was frustrating. I knew going into this that healing was not going to be linear. I would feel good and then feel bad again, symptoms back in full-force. But there is something very discouraging about feeling good and somewhat normal for two consecutive days, and then feeling horrible again for the next 4-5 (or 6-7...) days. It's like I would get a glimpse into normalcy again, and be riding on such a high: "I remember what this feels like! These days would feel amazing... I would remember what it feels like to feel like a normal person again, wanting to go out and live my life, rather than wanting to do nothing but put on my loosest clothing, and curl in a ball on my sofa, which is how I feel when my symptoms are rearing their heads. When I'm having symptoms, I feel brain-foggy, tired, irritable, physically uncomfortable because of the abdominal distention, low-energy, low-motivation, and frankly low-hope.
But as I progressed through the GI Synergy treatment (and low FODMAP diet), I would have more and more consecutive "good" days, where my symptoms were not as severe, and sometimes (rare, but it was something!) gone all together. Those were GOOD days!
As I mentioned, I finished up my last dose of my first round of GI Synergy treatment a few days ago, and I am happy to say that I think I'm finally starting to feel better. My symptoms are not completely gone, but I am feeling much better overall than when I started, and especially better than I did almost a year ago.
Because we still don't know exactly what we're treating me for (because my SIBO test was inconclusive, but my symptoms are indicative of SIBO), I'm having an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy done in a few weeks to see how things are looking inside my digestive tract. The doctor can see where things might look inflamed, and take biopsies of areas to further test. I'm looking forward to seeing if the results of this scope tells us anything new so that we can continue on the most effective course of treatment for what I have going on.
For a week or two prior to this procedure I have to be off of most supplements, so I won't be starting another round of herbal SIBO treatment until after the procedure, but in the meantime, I will be continuing to follow the low FODMAP diet.
I also want to mention that I believe the new digestive enzymes I'm taking (Digestzymes by Designs for Health), have been working really well for me. The first time I used them with a meal (and for almost every meal since), I have felt so much better after eating. The difference between this enzyme and others are that it has Ox Bile (which is known to help eliminate/prevent gallbladder sludge, which an ultrasound showed I have), and it also has HCL (hydrochloric acid).
Naturally, our stomachs are very acidic, which is important to adequately break down the food we eat for proper digestion. Sometimes stomach acid levels get low, and digestion is compromised. While I don't know whether or not I have low HCL (stomach acid), I have had my suspicions, and the fact that this digestive enzyme formulation containing HCL has seemed to be working really well for me, further supports my theory that I may have low levels of stomach acid as well. Whatever the case, if it's helping, I'm planning to continue with it.
Here's a summary of my current protocol as of today:
- Remaining on low-FODMAP diet
- Taking the following for gallbladder support/sludge removal:
- Continuing to take iron and vitamin D supplements to get me back to normal levels.
- Continuing to emphasize eating healthy animal protein (in the form of chicken, fish, beef, and pork) to increase my amino acid intake to support the healing of my gut lining as we remove and kill off an overgrowth of bacteria.
- Still avoiding too much cardio-based exercise. I currently do 1 day of higher intensity cardio, 1-2 days steady state cardio (swimming or light/easy jogging), and 4ish days of strength training by lifting at the gym.
- Acupuncture once per week. This has been a great experience, and I'll likely write a post exclusively about my acupuncture experience at a later date.
- Magnesium powder drink every night before bed to help manage anxiety, get me into a restful state physically and mentally, and to promote bowel movement regularity.
So this is where I currently am in my healing journey. I'll keep you updated as things progress, likely after my upcoming GI procedure. Stay tuned for more soon.
This post has links to some products I've tried and love, so that you can easily find them if you're also interested. Thanks for reading!