Saturday, February 2, 2008

Oh, the bacteria...

Interesting piece on bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine at Diagnose Me. I had a test which indicated that I had this condition. I took flagyl for it, which had miserable side-effects. That seemed to help but now the condition may have returned.

Other than antibiotics, various sources indicate that the following MAY be helpful: yogurt and probiotics, enteric coated peppermint oil, Grapefruit seed extract, Oregano oil capsules, Garlic, Berberine, Olive leaf extract, Pau d'arco, and colloidal silver. I'm trying a few of these but if I don't see results quickly, I'll have to call the gastroenterologist's office. (Hate to call them -- they have an automated phone system which pretty much makes it impossible to get through, and it's a long-distance call at that.)

Back to the article: Bacterial Dysbiosis is the technical name for the condition. Several causes of the condition are described. Here's the one that fits my case:
Fermentation / Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth (SBBO). This is a condition of carbohydrate intolerance induced by overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and beginning of the large intestine... Gastric bacterial overgrowth increases the risk of systemic infection and the sufferer develops an intolerance to carbohydrate. Any carbohydrate ingested is fermented by the bacteria and results in production of toxic waste products.

Carbohydrate intolerance may be the only symptom of bacterial overgrowth, making it indistinguishable from intestinal candidiasis; in either case dietary sugars can be fermented to produce endogenous ethanol... British physicians working with the gut-fermentation syndrome have tentatively concluded, based on treatment results, that the majority of cases are due to yeast overgrowth and about 20% are bacterial in origin. The symptoms include abdominal distension, carbohydrate intolerance, fatigue and impaired mental function.

Under treatment and prevention, the article says that fermentation dysbiosis can cause starch and soluble fiber to exacerbate the abnormal gut ecology. When the upper small bowel is involved, simple sugars are also contraindicated. A diet free of cereal grains and added sugar is generally the most helpful. Fruit, fat and starchy vegetables are tolerated to variable degree in different cases. Oligosaccharides found in some vegetables, carrots in particular, inhibit the binding of enterobacteria to the intestinal mucosa.