The body is made up of many things, one of which being bacteria. Although it often gets a bad reputation, bacteria can be grouped into two different categories — good (healthy/beneficial) bacteria and bad (unhealthy/pathogenic) bacteria. Believe it or not, both good and bad bacteria are essential to our health.
In fact, the body has a unique way of maintaining a balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria and a majority of it occurs in the gut. This balance generally goes undisturbed and uninterrupted, allowing you to live a life free of any symptoms — the type of life we all desire.
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to maintain that balance. When there are too many bad/pathogenic bacteria in the body, it can create a number of unwanted symptoms and even lead to a number of health concerns like CIRS. Don’t worry, I’m going to break down everything you need to know!
What Is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, also known as SIBO, is a condition where bacteria levels in the small intestine grow excessively high. Among this general rise in bacteria is a rise in bad bacteria, including dangerous types and types that aren’t normally housed in the small intestine.
SIBO is a motility disorder that creates an ideal environment for bacteria growth. Motility refers to the movement and contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract that propel food and waste materials along the digestive system.
In a healthy digestive system, the contractions help prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine by pushing them into the large intestine. However, in individuals with motility disorders, these contractions may be impaired or disrupted, leading to a slower transit time and stagnant areas in the small intestine. This can create an environment conducive to bacterial overgrowth.
Motility disorders that can contribute to SIBO include conditions such as gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach), intestinal pseudo-obstruction (malfunction of the muscles in the intestines), and conditions affecting the nerves that control intestinal motility, such as diabetic neuropathy or Parkinson’s disease.
As the levels of bacteria rise, they can produce dangerous toxins that result in a number of SIBO symptoms.
- Abdominal Pain
- Diarrhea & Constipation
- Nausea & Upset Stomach
- Fullness After Eating
- Loss of Appetite
- Bloating & Gas
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Malnutrition & Poor Diet
In order to properly diagnose Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth and problems in your gut microbiome, your doctor will perform several labs and tests, including a breath test and possible blood work, urinalysis, and stool culture. Once the diagnosis is made, the doctor creates a unique treatment plan for each patient.
Think you have SIBO? Take our quiz to get more information.
Think you have been exposed to Mold Biotoxins ? Take the Mold Biotoxin Quiz here
The treatment plan may consist of antibiotics, but the main goal of treatment is to correct the underlying problem. Your doctor will also work with you in taking the right supplements and eating the right foods to help reduce and prevent bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine.
What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?
Chronic inflammatory response syndrome, also known as CIRS, is a condition where the body is exposed to a variety of biotoxins that result in ongoing inflammation in the body. It’s often referred to as Mold Biotoxin Illness with one of the leading causes being exposure to toxic mold.
Other causes of CIRS include tick bites and exposure to dinoflagellates. When biotoxins enter the body, they target immune cells, latch on, and don’t let go. The immune cells respond by producing cytokines, (inflammatory immune modulators) leading to an overworked system and an excess immune response.
Symptoms of CIRS include:
- Decreased Assimilation of New Knowledge
- Sensitivity to Light
- Impaired Memory
- Difficulty Finding Words
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Joint Pain
- Morning Stiffness
- Skin Sensitivity
- Tingling Sensations
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Congestion
- Excessive Thirst
- Appetite Swings
- Difficulty Regulating Body Temperature
- Increased Urinary Frequency
- Red Eyes
- Blurred Vision
- Mood Swings
- Ice-Pick Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Water Eyes
- Metallic Taste in Mouth
- Static Shocks
In order to diagnose chronic inflammatory response syndrome, your doctor will perform a number of tests and exams to analyze your current health, but will also want to have the patient’s home tested for mold.
Treatment generally involves eliminating mold exposure and removing the biotoxins and MARCoNS from the body. Your doctor will also correct any inconsistencies or concerns found in your lab work. This will involve medication, diet and exercise, and other lifestyle changes.
MARCoNS and Mold Biotoxins
MARCoNS stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. It is a term used to describe a specific type of bacterial colonization in the nasal passages. Coagulase Negative Staphylococci are bacteria that are normally found on the skin and in the nasal passages of many individuals without causing any symptoms. However, in some cases, these bacteria can become resistant to multiple antibiotics and overgrow in the nasal passages, leading to a condition known as MARCoNS.
MARCoNS can be seen in individuals with chronic illnesses, such as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Lyme disease, chronic sinusitis, Chronic Allergies and Age immune response, Histamine intolerance/ MCAS and other immune-related conditions. It is believed that MARCoNS can contribute to the ongoing systemic inflammation and can perpetuate or worsen symptoms in these individuals.
Treatment of MARCoNS typically involves a multi pronged approach. A combination of nasal anti-fungal or antibacterial sprays, along with systemic antimicrobials/Binders when necessary. If you believe you have MARCoNS, SIBO or Mold Biotoxin Exposure, It is important to work with a knowledgeable Functional medicine provider who can guide the treatment process and monitor for any potential side effects or complications.
More than 80% of people with low MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone), those suffering from Biotoxin Illness and other chronic inflammatory illnesses CIRS. There are very specific testing needed to identify the biofilms in MARCoNS.
Are SIBO and CIRS Connected?
At first glance, you might think chronic inflammatory response syndrome and small bowel bacterial overgrowth have nothing to do with one another — but they do. In fact, CIRS is known to be one of the causes of SIBO, especially if not detected, diagnosed, or treated properly.
We learned above that CIRS is characterized by chronic inflammation and is generally caused by toxic exposure to mold. This inflammation and exposure to biotoxins create an unwanted domino effect of symptoms in the human body, many of which were highlighted earlier.
In regards to SIBO, the inflammation from CIRS is known to slow the migrating motor complex (MMC), which is responsible for pushing food and waste through the gastrointestinal tract. When this process is slowed, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in –thus causing SIBO.
Not only that, but SIBO and CIRS share some of the same digestive symptoms — including bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, heartburn, and interstitial cystitis. It’s important that your doctor takes both into consideration when a patient is showing any of those symptoms.
Are You Experiencing SIBO or CIRS? Contact Me!
Living with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), mold biotoxin illness, or both can be a lot to handle. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll it has on your day-to-day life can eliminate any sense of quality you have in your life — which can deplete your will and desire.
As a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner for 24+ years, I’m dedicated and committed to helping patients live a happier, healthier, and more rewarding lifestyle — especially when things aren’t going so well. Whether you need help treating a known chronic condition or diagnosing one, my staff and I are here to help you.
In terms of SIBO and CIRS, I’ve helped a number of patients overcome CIRS and SIBO and find relief from symptoms. I understand how stressful this condition can be and I want to ensure every patient has access to a quality, reliable, safe, and effective treatment plan from a trusted professional.
If you’d like to learn more about these two conditions and how they’re related, want to discuss some of your symptoms, or would simply like to have your case reviewed, don’t hesitate to contact my office. I’m honored to serve you and your family with best-in-class functional medicine care.
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