SIBO: An Update

Apr 19 2018

Well, it's been nearly 3.5 months since I last posted about SIBO and The Bloat, so I figured now would be a good time for an update. I'm still on the Candida Diet, even though I naively thought I'd be off of it after three months. I've learned to be kind to myself – this takes a long time to go away. I've had several plateaus where I felt like I wasn't making any progress and those times were discouraging. But my doctor told me that it's very rare for someone to walk in with SIBO and be cured in three months. That made me feel much better. In the last post, I hadn't gotten my bloodwork or poo samples back. Those came my way in early February and confirmed that I did have excess yeast in my large intestine. Luckily I was already a month in to the Candida Diet, which treats both SIBO and yeast problems. It was confirmed that I don't have any intestinal parasites and that I do have a slight, inherited Thyroid issue but I honestly don't remember what exactly that was so I'm not gonna lie about it here.

On eating and drinking in public: Most of my update is about the diet and how The Bloat is faring now that it's being attacked on all sides: diet, exercise and medication. At first, the diet was tough and gave me anxiety about eating in public. I've gotten completely used to it now and so has Seth, Kim and others who spend a lot of time with me. I find it's pretty easy to modify things in restaurants: brown rice with sushi, no bun with a veggie bean burger or a salad with no cheese. Nights at the bar mean gin/soda or vodka/soda – which are wayyyy stronger than beer so I've learned to regulate my intake. I'm drinking less in general so when I do go over the edge, the hangovers are far worse and totally not worth losing the entire next day for.

On sugar: Sugar is not easy to let go of, but once you do, it's life changing. Since cutting out sugar and starting this journey, I've lost ten pounds, putting me 2 lbs away from my goal weight of 125. If you read my previous post, then you know I've tried a lot of diets and cleanses, all which worked temporarily but never sustained me in the long haul. I could never come under 135lbs, no matter how hard I tried. The key similarity in all of this is the fact that I continued eating lots of sugar: high sugar fruits, agave, raw sugar, you name it. I used to have dessert with every meal with the goal of packing myself full. Now that I've let sugar (mostly) go, I don't crave it like I used to. I still yearn for something sweet, especially after savory meals but I usually satisfy that with a Larabar or homemade avocado chocolate pudding. Or these fucking amazing 3 Ingredient Vegan Brownie Bites. I don't think I'll ever go back to eating the amount of sugar I used to now that I've seen physical results.

On yoga: Yoga has been my go-to exercise in the past year, although I tend to fall off for months at a time. Not only does it improve my strength and flexibility, but it helps regulate my anxious mind. Throughout my SIBO journey, I've done yoga here and there but really got serious about going consistently this month. Usually when I take a hiatus from yoga, it takes awhile for my body to bounce back. Not this time. Within the first week, I noticed muscle definition, increased energy and further loss of bloat. I attribute this to the overall health of my body now as opposed to before and I'm excited to see what other changes unfold now that I'm going 3-4 times per week.

On The Bloat Most importantly, how the fuck is The Bloat? Well....it's still there. It's there but it's distended and is really only visible below my belly button. Before, the bloat would start just below my bra line and continue, expanding steadily to just past my navel. I have seen tremendous improvement but I'm not through yet. Until then, I've noticed it's the worst after I eat a large meal, after eating quickly or after eating something gassy like cashews or carbonated LaCroix. I'm at the stage where I can play with my diet a bit – trying out foods here and there to see if they affect me. In March, I went off the antimicrobials (the 21 tabs per day) and started on the Probiotic phase. This phase introduces healthy bacteria into my gut, whereas the antimicrobials killed off the bad guys. This switch was tough. I had stomach pain, horrible gas and loose stool for about a week but I've finally adjusted. I hear that I may need to do another round of antimicrobials but I'll find that out after my appointment next week.

I know that's a lot, both in nastiness and length. There are a lot of moving parts to this treatment, especially when doing it naturally. I'm impatient by nature and some days am just downright discouraged. But most days I'm hopeful that it's going away and I tell myself to stay the course. And, maybe the most important thing, I feel SO MUCH BETTER! That's all that really matters, right?

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