By Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Last week we discussed the possibility of SIBO or small intestinal bacteria overgrowth in regard to long term chronic gut challenges with a lack of healing success. In case you missed it, here is last week’s article. Many people actually took the necessary step in purchasing the SIBO breath test, so they can confirm if this is an issue. Congratulations to those that have taken this step! If you do have SIBO, this will be an invaluable piece of information for you.
Today I would like to discuss the single biggest factor tied into SIBO and that is constipation. Before we get into how constipation plays such a huge role in SIBO, let’s first define constipation. This is important because overall, most people have a misconception on healthy bowel movements in the first place. Constipation can be defined as one bowel movement per day, or less. This may be a shock to the high percentage of people that feel their morning bowel movement is optimal for them but I can share, this simply is not the case. Understand that one bowel movement per day still leaves the residual of 6 meals in your gastrointestinal tract on a consistent basis. The big challenge here is that this leaves you with a chronically impacted colon. And that’s with one bowel movement per day. Imagine what those with one bowel movement every other day or worse are dealing with. Imagine 9, 12 or move meals held in the colon and GI tract chronically. Yikes! This is a huge issue that has to be addressed.
We’ll also define health bowel movements as 2 or more per day. We should have our most significant bowel movement in the morning which is when we will release lunch and dinner from the day before and one more in late afternoon or early evening where we release breakfast from that morning. This will ultimately leave our colon clear once per day after the morning bowel movement. This is the minimum goal we should shoot for.
Now if we want to talk about optimal bowel movements, we would be looking at having a bowel movement about 30 to 45 minutes after each meal. If you think this is unrealistic, think of a baby. Feed a baby, poop, feed a baby, poop, and the cycle continues. This of course continues until poor quality food and other health challenges are introduced into this baby’s life. The good news is, we can work ourselves back to this healthy release of the colon, or at least 2 bowel movements per day.
Recognize that when the colon is impacted and you are living in a chronically constipated state, this is the beginning for many developing SIBO. First understand that the basic issue with SIBO is the fact that the bacteria levels in the colon are able to colonize the small intestines. Next is to realize that this occurs because of a poor functioning ileocecal valve. The ileocecal valve is a sphincter muscle valve that separates the small intestine from the colon. Its main function is to limit the reflux of your colon contents from backing up into the ileum, which is the final section of the small intestine.
The main factor for most with this ileocecal valve failure is the chronic constipation that places consistent pressure on this valve, eventually leading to its failure.
Once this failure occurs it open season for your colon bacteria to enter into your small intestines and wreak havoc on your digestive system for years to come. This can lead to:
- Constant bloating after meals
- Poor absorption and assimilation of nutrients
- Abdominal pain
- Diagnosis of IBS
If you have these symptoms above, SIBO may just be the issue that you are dealing with but testing would be essential because these same symptoms may be tied into food sensitivity and/or other pathogens such as parasites, detrimental bacteria, protozoa, H-pylori infections and more.
The importance of knowing if SIBO is the issue is due to the fact that there are very specific diets and supplemental recommendations for this condition to assist your body in overcoming the severe bacterial imbalance. When comparing assisting your body in overcoming SIBO as compared to other gut issue, this is very different and specific.
Another major point that I want to make today is what you can do to help increase the regularity of your bowel movements. This is so important to keep SIBO at bay but also many other positive health implications. Here are some suggestions for you below.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water (approximately 1 quart for every 50 pounds of body weight)
- Chew your food thoroughly
- Take a quality prebiotic/probiotic formula (if you have SIBO this will be very specific)
- Take a quality enzyme with each cooked food meal (if you have SIBO this will be very specific)
- Eat in a relaxed state (deep breath prior to eating to calm you nervous system)
- Moving your body is essential to moving your colon, so get out and move
- If this still leaves you constipated try CFC. I have seen this work wonders with my client base
If there are still issues with constipation after you have addressed everything above, there may be some deeper gut/brain connection issues. If this is the case work with a quality natural health care practitioner or reach out to us here at Depke Wellness.
So in the end, please be sure to take care of constipation to significantly lower your risk of ever developing a challenge with SIBO as well as staying SIBO free after you have overcome this challenge. You’ll be happy you did!
If you have any comments or questions about this article, please leave a post below and we will address this personally for you.