Why do SIBO patients tend to have more gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than non-SIBO patients?
I’ve certainly noticed a connection between the two. Not all people with small intestinal bowel overgrowth issues will have reflux disease, but many do.
Dr. Norman Robillard, Ph.D., an expert in digestion, has a theory that makes sense to me. If you have an overgrowth of bacteria right up at the top part of the duodenum, they will be producing gas in the area. Essentially, there is inappropriate fermentation due to dysbiosis. (I consider SIBO to be a type of dysbiosis).
The gases produced as a result of SIBO put pressure on the stomach and force the acid up rather than down. Over time the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weaker and weaker, and GERD is fully established.
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Can we just use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to manage the GERD? I think that’s absolutely the wrong thing to do. PPIs create an environment in the lower part of the stomach and upper part of the small bowel that is particularly conducive for bacterial growth. You’d essentially be shooting yourself in the foot by taking PPIs because they exacerbate SIBO.
Dr. Robillard does not consider a FODMAPS diet to be the solution, and I agree with him. I don’t have a cookie-cutter diet that I recommend for GERD or SIBO.
Many people will benefit from some foods that aggravate the hell out of others, so cases have to be taken on their individual merits. I don’t believe in treating patients as a medical version of paint by numbers. The treatment plan should be customized based on several variables unique to each client.
Now you might be saying, “All right, mate, you’ve given us the problem. Now give us the solution.” Well, the solution is to work on the SIBO. Try and get rid of these harmful bacteria in the small intestine.
I suggest taking a supplement that is not only going to work on SIBO but is also effective against small intestine fungal overgrowth (SIFO). You need a broad-spectrum product that’s going to do that.
It’s even better if you get a three sample comprehensive stool analysis done. Once you know everything that needs fixing, undertake a treatment that is at least four to six weeks in length. Re-test and then treat some more if need be.