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Jan 4, 2012 · IBS in Digestive Health

Learn what you can about SIBO, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and about The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). When I learned about these two topics and tried a very careful adherence to the SCD, in as short as two weeks I began to understand the relationship between the foods that went in to me and the symptoms that resulted from eating what used to be a ‘normal’ diet.

I had tried a gluten free (GF) diet for two years, and in the first half year to a year I found great relief, until I started experimenting with various GF grains and starches to make bread and cookies. Ultimately, with symptoms advancing, I decided to read the labels on my supplement bottles and found one ingredient that was not recommended for people with bowel disorders. That ingredient, croscarmellose sodium, was the key for my discovering the SCD and about SIBO.

I eliminated ALL starches, sugars and grains as outlined in the four internet pages of the SCD Legal/Illegal foods list, and focused on fruit, vegetables, good lean meats, eggs, Fage 0% yogurt, aged hard cheeses, oils, and lots of nuts. Within two weeks I noticed an abatement of symptoms, and now six months later, still adhering to the SCD when I can control the food that I eat (eating out is akin to navigating a mine field) I am responding well to the regimen.

I have found that eating only cooked vegetables is better for me at this point, and that I cannot drink wine, and alcohol without feeling a response in my intestines a couple of days later.

The symptoms have mostly disappeared, but I do know that the sensitivity or responses to foods is still a problem if I “try” or am given a trigger food.

I feel so well eating this way. As soon as I started it, my cravings for bread and cookies ceased. I also lost ten pounds, slowly while not feeling starved or deprived.

My experience with understanding about what SIBO is, and how the SCD works, and how it works for me makes me want that everyone should, at the least, learn about this approach to helping their bowel disorders. With it, you begin to participate in an approach to your own wellness, rather than just suppressing the symptoms with medicines.

If you are under the care of a physician, discuss this approach. Not all physicians will know about it, others will have heard about it. I went to an evening presentation to hear a Gastro Intestinal Doctor and a GI Surgeon, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The doctor did mention the approach by foods management, saying that some people do find relief this way, but without substantial clinical tests backing up the method, they may not be able to recommend it, also citing that it can be difficult for people to adhere to.

My thoughts when I heard this, and still now, is that once I felt better by eliminating the trigger foods and have been eating a very healthful diet, there is tremendous motivation to continue with this approach towards eating!

There are other web sites that take the SCD approach with more or less stringency for various and specific outcomes. The reading is fascinating once you get into it.

Best wishes to you, and all with bowel disorders. It is no fun to suffer with it.

Oct 20, 2011 · Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Constipation in Digestive Health

I am sorry to read about your troubles and discomforts. My own story would tell of many years of symptoms that I did not begin to understand until 2.5 years ago. By then I was experiencing tremendous constipation episodes of several days that would end in a day filled with bowel evacuations. Not fun. One day I landed in the urgent care/emergency room. I learned about gluten intolerance 2.5 years ago and launched into a gluten free diet, that eventually led to excluding corn, and now to excluding starches and more.

At some point after going gluten free, I figured out how to bake things with gluten free starches and grains. That was accompanied by an uptick of symptoms. By June of this year I knew that a gluten free diet alone was not the answer, though with the initial gluten free phase there was significant improvement to the point of some normal weeks or months. It motivated me to pursue dietary approaches.

This past June when I was ready to ask for medical help, I read the supplement containers that I was taking, and many of them had croscarmellose sodium in the ingredients list. I looked up that ingredient on the internet. It is used to break apart the tablets when the absorb moisture. The web research revealed one source that said people who have intestinal disorders should avoid that ingredient.

There was also a suggestion to learn about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Because this diet approach is attached to a book, I hesitate to do anything to promote the book. I have not purchased it, but I did read the web site about the concept of, and the approach to, this particular kind of diet.

The concept of Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) was introduced during this research period, and it made sense to me for what I was experiencing. The more healthful dietary approach through the SCD, and eliminating anything else that triggered a negative response was a choice I was willing to make. The concept promotes this diet as a means of reducing bacteria that has invaded into the wrong part of the digestive system, causing reactions (simplified description), and would help strengthen the good colonies where they belonged. The diet must be adhered to, for a long period of time, until each individual finds that point when other foods may be added back. It could be a year or longer. This very simplified description can be augmented by reading resources on the internet. The bacterial colonies in our intestines have a massive role to play in our digestion and well being.

It made sense, and I could relate my symptoms of constipation to evacuation episodes to the foods that I was ingesting. Within a couple of weeks of adopting the approach, I noticed some improvement. Now at four months, there are long periods of normal or close to normal bowel activities. I notice when I ingest something that causes another response cycle, and will then try to be sure to avoid that food.

Basically I avoid all starches, grains, thickeners, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sugars, honey (for now), milk, cream, sour cream, beans, and my own other trouble foods such as tomatoes and pineapples. The SCD web site has a helpful list of foods that may and may not be eaten during this diet change.

I do eat lots of fresh fruit and cooked vegetables, lots of leafy greens such as kale and collards, eggs, meats, fish, oils, lots of nuts, a little butter now and then, aged hard cheeses, and a lot of particular kind of yogurt with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Streptococcus Thermophilus, and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. It must not contain Bifidus/Bifidum bacteria. It should contain gums, sugars, or additives, or flavors of any kind. I also make my own kimchi, without sugar, since it is a positive source for lactobacillus.

I feel well fed, much improved, but still wary of experimenting with former or questionable food choices. My blood tests for essential vitamins and minerals at my annual physical appointment showed that all levels are normal.

The bowel disorder improvement, with the support of the dietary change, motivates me to continue adhering to this new way of eating. It is completely possible to do it. The alternative, seeking medical evaluation and medicines to treat the symptoms was and still is a choice that I could take. But, for as long as this dietary approach improves my health and bowel performance I am thankful that I have a choice to not seek medical intervention.

I hope with my own story that others may find alternative choices to reducing your bowel disorder discomforts. If you are beyond being able to change your diet alone, do seek medical help.

Even so, be aware of what you eat and how your body responds to it over the next days and weeks.