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SIBO: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

SIBO: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

SIBO treatment can be an intimidating process. The treatment for this chronic condition takes time but is worth it. Here are some points to remember about SIBO treatment according to Dr. Stephen Smith.

SIBO Treatment | Understanding How SIBO is Treated!

In this Article:

What is SIBO?

SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. This refers to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. A person with SIBO can have up to 10 times the normal amount of bacteria in his or her SI. The bacteria involved are organized into colonies. These colonies form a biofilm which is what makes SIBO difficult to treat.

What Causes SIBO?

You can develop SIBO due to different reasons. It is a possible side effect of medications such as immunosuppressants and proton pump inhibitors. Additionally, SIBO can occur alongside the following conditions and diseases:

  • Aging
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Diverticulosis

SIBO Symptoms

SIBO Symptoms | SIBO: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth | small intestine | bacteria | large intestine


The bacteria present in SIBO secrete toxins. These toxins affect the body in many different ways. Often, a person with SIBO would experience problems like cognitive dysfunction and fatigue. SIBO also makes it difficult for digestion and absorption to occur. Symptoms such as nausea, weight loss, and diarrhea are associated with the condition.

SIBO Treatment Options

Treatments for gastrointestinal conditions usually involve probiotics and antibiotics. But, due to the biofilm that forms in SIBO, these do not work. Instead, doctors recommend a step-by-step procedure. Although the process takes more time, it is effective.

Step-by-Step Process:

  1. Take an enzyme to break down the mucous membrane in your small intestine.
  2. Wait for 20 o 30 minutes for the enzyme to work.
  3. Take a killing agent. Examples of bacteria-killing agents are antibiotics and herbals. For SIBO, herbals tend to work better than antibiotics. Herbals are also the more cost-effective choice.
  4. The dead bacteria are cleared out through charcoal, fiber, or plastisol. Of all the options, Dr. Smith recommends the Pectisol.

The process is then repeated to target another layer. As the treatment progresses, the doctor gives more enzyme and killing agents. Doing this gradually increases the aggressiveness of the treatment. This progression also allows us to move into a deeper cleanse without shocking the system. The doctor repeats the procedure steps until the bacteria in the small intestine lower to the normal amount.

Moreover, the normal amount of bacteria in the small intestine is approximately 10,000 per centimeter. A person with SIBO, on the other hand, will have up to 100,000 bacteria per centimeter of the intestine. Following this, the doctor performs a procedure to repair the bowel to restore normal functioning.

Why is the Step-by-Step Process Necessary?

It is important to target one layer at a time when treating SIBO. This is because of how the accumulation of dead bacteria can cause complications. Killing off the toxins abruptly can lead to a Herxheimer's Reaction. This reaction involves experiencing flu-like symptoms. Because of this, the treatment is done in steps and cycles to scrape off each layer of bacteria.

If you want to hear more about what Dr. Smith has to say about SIBO treatment, watch this video by Agape Nutrition.


SIBO treatment is a bit more difficult compared to other treatments for GI conditions. To avoid complications, longer duration and a number of cycles of treatment are needed. 

Have you experienced having SIBO? Tell us about your recovery experience in the comments below.

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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on April 17, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned is intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure or Prevent Any Disease.


SIBO: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth