If you’re reading this, I’ll bet you’ve got acne – no prizes for guessing that. But I also bet that acne isn’t your only symptom.
You also might have gut issues. Whether it’s IBS-like symptoms, foods that don’t agree with you, or bloating and gas (food baby, anyone?) these can all be signs that you’ve got SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.
Sounds Scary. What is SIBO?
SIBO is an overgrowth of the bacteria in your small intestine.
Your small intestine isn’t actually meant to have very much bacteria in it at all – your stomach acid usually keeps it at bay. But when your stomach acid levels are too low, the bacteria can get overgrown, and start to ferment your food – causing bloating, pain, gas and belching, reflux and diarrhoea/constipation. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s possible you have SIBO.
The SIBO – Acne Connection
The excess bacteria in your small intestine can trigger an inflammatory response, and acne is your body’s response to that inflammation. Inflammation is nearly always a root cause of acne.
SIBO can also cause ‘leaky gut’, which is where your intestinal barrier becomes too permeable, allowing toxins, bacteria and undigested food particles to enter your blood stream. Your immune system detects these ‘invaders’ and causes an inflammatory response that affects your whole body, including your skin.
Your skin is a mirror for what’s going on in your gut, so if your skin is freaking out, your gut almost certain is part of the problem.
How did I get SIBO?
Research shows that it is often caused by low stomach acid (there are some other causes too). Our stomach acid not only digests our food, but it also helps to keep the levels of bacteria in our gut at a healthy level. Stomach acid is, essentially, our first line of defence against infection and bacterial overgrowth. So when it’s too low, the bacteria can get overgrown, and our food doesn’t get digested properly – giving the bacteria more to feed off.
Foods that feed SIBO:
- Sugars and sweeteners.
- Fruits and starchy vegetables.
- Dairy products.
These foods are known to encourage the growth of the wrong bacteria in the small intestine, but don’t just go cutting them out as this won’t actually get rid of the SIBO. Cutting these foods out will just make it go ‘dormant’ until you eat something that triggers it again. What you need to do is fix it with a good SIBO Protocol – see ‘Getting Help With SIBO’ below.
What causes low stomach acid?
Some things that can cause low stomach acid:
- Medications including PPI’s like Omeprazole and
- Acid-blockers like Gaviscon and Pepto-Bismol
- Gut inflammation
- Nutritional deficiencies (including zinc and b vitamins)
- Bacterial infections (such as h.pylori)
- Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an auto-immune condition)
- Gastric bypass surgery
Whilst low stomach acid isn’t the only possible cause of SIBO, it does need to be addressed to make sure your stomach acid levels are adequate enough to keep the bacteria in check and to make sure your food is getting digested properly so you can absorb the nutrients.
Getting Help With SIBO
Working with a knowledgeable practitioner is important, as SIBO is a complex issue. I have my SIBO clients follow my SIBO protocol that is specially designed to help restore the function of the small intestine.
We’ll make sure that we identify the causes of low stomach acid that are relevant for you, and come up with a plan of action to improve them. We’ll address stress resilience practices and pinpoint anything that could be elevating your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, including food intolerances and lifestyle factors. We’ll look at your medication and see if its having a negative impact. We’ll also offer supportive supplements which could include digestive enzymes, probiotics and pro-kinetics.
Getting rid of SIBO can be a tricky process, but with the right support and personalised guidance, you can see great results.
Getting Rid Of Acne
Clearing up your skin starts with clearing up your gut. If you’ve tried every topical cream on the market and you’re still breaking out, that’s because acne is not a topical problem, and it’s time to turn your attention to the deeper causes of your breakouts.
SIBO is just one possible cause of acne, but it’s not the only one. Acne is actually a symptom of much deeper issues – out-of-whack hormones, a gut messed up by antibiotics and stress, and clogged up detoxification pathways. Most of my Clear Skin clients have a combination of these issues.
If you think you might have SIBO, I’m happy to help – book a free call with me to discuss how we can fix your gut and clear up your skin.