For those clients who come to see me and have had a negative SIBO breathe test, the very first thing I suggest is a comprehensive stool analysis that uses three samples and includes parasitology. SIBO breathe test can come back negative even if you have severe problems in your gut. SIBO tests don’t look for levels of beneficial bacteria, Candida, or parasites. The SIBO test measures bacteria that produce hydrogen or methane. I like SIBO breathe testing, but I only use it in conjunction with a comprehensive stool test to give me a much broader spectrum of knowledge.
The best outcomes I get for patients have been when recommendations reflect not just from one stool test, but generally two or three over three months to 12 months. These cases become solved cases. Some of these cases are people who have been sick for 10 to 20 years with an unhealthy gut. They’ve been to 10, 20, 30, or even 50 doctors. Some of these people have lost any hope of ever recovering from their health problems. I’m not exaggerating when I say spending three to four hundred dollars on a stool test can be life-changing,
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Get a stool test to find out if you’re lacking beneficial bacteria or have some other type of intestinal imbalance. Once you know the “lay of the land” in your gut, you can choose an effective treatment. As for using rifaximin to treat intestinal problems, I used to recommend it until I saw the results. Many patients taking rifaximin not only didn’t recover, but they got worse. I read a study that showed within 18 to 19 months, 100% of patients experienced a recurrence of SIBO. I’ve noticed the same recurrence problem with metronidazole (Flagyl).
I absolutely believe that pharmaceuticals are not the right approach for nearly all the people I see in the clinic. In most cases, that the collateral damage is worse than anything. You need to think carefully about what medications do to your beneficial bacteria. If use rifaximin, I highly recommend you do a stool test before and then several months after rifaximin treatment. You’ll want to know what changes occurred to your gut bacteria as a result of the rifaximin.
In my clinical experience, grapefruit seed extract and oregano oil, when combined with other antimicrobials, work beautifully for irritable bowel syndrome. There isn’t the recurrence of symptoms seen with drugs like rifaximin.