I’ve noticed a big trend in our SIBO SOS™ Community Facebook group. I grabbed a few screenshots to show you what I mean…
What do you do when your Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth breath test is negative but you STILL have symptoms?
Today I’m digging into this important topic and sharing some ideas and suggestions.
False SIBO Breath Test Results Aren’t The Only Possibility
Yes, there is a possibility that your SIBO breath test results were either a false positive or a false negative.
But many times, people jump to the conclusion that if they have SIBO symptoms, they must have SIBO.
According to Dr. Megan Taylor, ND this is a big mistake:
“For my patients who’ve been doing this for a really long time, one of the biggest mistakes I think we make is obsessing about the breath test. It’s like I have to talk so many folks off the ledge about their positive breath test. And part of it is interpretation.
We have to understand that this is not a perfect tool. Breath testing only gives us evidence possibly of bacterial overgrowth. We should make sure that our providers who are interpreting our test have a lot of experience doing it or are at least up to date.
So, really focusing on that and not obsessing about getting a negative. We know lots of things can influence that breath test, including just your physiology.”
So while you should always discuss the possibility of a false test result with your practitioner, you may also want to consider these 3 other possible causes of your symptoms.
#1 Is It Parasites, Not SIBO?
Many of us falsely believe that we can’t have a parasite because we don’t travel out of the country or drink unfiltered water, but according to parasite expert Dr. Anne Hill, ND, this is a big mistake!
Dr. Hill taught me that parasites can happen to truly anyone (no matter how careful you are!) Exposure to parasites is just part of being a human.
Parasite symptoms can mimic SIBO symptoms including:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Food sensitivities
Parasites can also occur alongside SIBO and can explain why you treated SIBO, got a negative breath test, but still have symptoms.
Want to learn more about parasites? Dr. Hill was a past speaker at the SIBO SOS™ Speaker Series. When you join the series right now, you get instant access to her workshop so you can learn more about diagnosing and treating common parasites. Learn more here.
#2 Food Sensitivities Make You Just As Miserable As SIBO
Is the list of foods you can tolerate getting shorter and shorter?
It could be SIBO causing this – but it could also be food sensitivities (not the same as food allergies).
Food sensitivities aren’t an immune activation response (like a food allergy is). According to Dr. Nirala Jacobi, ND, food sensitivities cause a local and systemic effect. She says the most common categories of food sensitivities are:
A sensitivity to any of these food groups can cause issues like pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation, headaches, and rashes (among other symptoms).
So what causes food sensitivities?
Food sensitivities can be a sign of yeast overgrowth (more on that in just a minute) and can also be a result of damage to the intestines caused by past SIBO or other issues.
If you’re dealing with food sensitivities, we have some great resources in the Speaker Series for you! Learn more here.
#3 SIFO Sounds & Looks Like SIBO
There’s another condition that looks and sounds like SIBO (literally) – it’s called Small Intestine Fungal Overgrowth (SIFO).
SIFO is SIBO’s doppelganger. Both conditions happen when a normal resident of your gut (bacteria in the case of SIBO, yeast in the case of SIFO) overgrows where it shouldn’t: the small intestine.
They can both cause the same symptoms.
You can even have both SIFO and SIBO at the same time.
But here’s the key difference: they require different treatments!
It can be really hard to tell based on symptomatology is you have SIBO, SIFO, or both – but there is testing available, and more importantly: effective treatments for both.
I really believe SIFO is big missing piece of the “why don’t I feel better?” puzzle for many people.
Don’t Give Up – Ever!
I know how devastating it can be to get test results that don’t match how you feel.
You start to wonder: “Is it actually all just in my head?”
Let me be the one to remind you: no, it’s not just in your head!
SIBO, IBS, leaky gut… these are tricky conditions to diagnose and treat. It’s not “open and shut” cases.
We’re here to support you, provide you with new idea, information, and inspiration, and guide you along in your journey.
Don’t give up.