Project 22 – Chapter 7
Chapter 7 – My Stool Test Results: You have SIBO
It’s funny to be talking about my poo, but let’s do it and hopefully it’ll inspire you to explore your guts too.
That’s effectively what we’re doing. Our poo tells a story. Whether it be running, stiff or a number 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart, you can still have ‘stuff’ going on that you need to sort out.
I wasn’t expecting the results I got, and maybe if I looked at other signs the writing was on the wall, be it exactly what I had or a version of, it was a quicker way to sort my shit out (pun intended) and help me raise my energy levels.
At my second appointment with Brooke, I said ‘let’s do a poo and hair test’. And exactly like my hair test, she was really excited because it gives her, and me, a clearer picture of what’s going on. At the time I was on supplements to improve health conditions that I had like, low energy, period pain, lung issues, hair loss, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and cold sores. I wasn’t on any specific supplements for gut health because that wasn’t what I went in for.
Brooke gave me a blue box, the stool test, and the following Monday, I was to poo, follow the instructions and post it off.
The reason for a Monday is so that the sample is as fresh as possible, but for some people that’s not possible. Some people only poo every second day or once a week. For these people, they’d have to ‘freeze’ the sample, then post it on a Monday.
Please note, that whilst your bowel movements might be totally ok for you, everyone’s unique, for some people not having a bowel movement every day can lead to health problems such as estrogen dominance. Excess estrogen leaves the body through our stool and if it can’t leave our bodies, it can get stored on our bodies which may cause weight gain.
The trick here is that everything goes through the liver (except alcohol) before it leaves our bodies. The liver processes external things first, like that gorgeous chocolate cake you ate for morning tea or the pizza you had for dinner, that coffee you had for breakfast and those chips you just at for afternoon tea. If there’s too many of those things in your eating protocol, then the things our bodies naturally creates, like estrogen, get ‘dumped for later’ because the livers busy processing all the other things.
Which could mean, we keep storing that estrogen, instead of processing it and getting it out of our bodies. If you have concerns in this area, you can listen to my podcast Episode 92 – Happy Hormones with Stephanie Latawiec and seek professional support.
Now back to my poop!
It was the following Monday after my session with Brooke and I had the kit out, I was ready and waiting to poop!
I had to poo into a cardboard container, much like a noodle container – the long rectangular ones. Then with gloves on, scoop out a few samples on my poop into a plastic jar that had a fluid in it. I wondered if my poo would get stuck on the sample spoon hmmm. Anyway, then I was to close the lid of the jar and shake it for a set period of time. Pop everything in a parcel pack and take it to the post office.
Fairly straight forward right? But when would my poo come…hmmm. If it was first thing in the morning (which is usually my style) then I’d ask Chris to post it, if not, I might have to take it to the post office myself but it was a regional office and I wasn’t sure if it would get sent that day or the next. Logistics where on my mind ha ha.
We were in the middle of getting organised for the school drop off, but thankfully everyone was sorted when my motion came!!
I grabbed my container and went to the toilet.
I put the container under my bum, holding it from the front and hoping that I didn’t poo on my hands – what if I did, how would I sort that out? Would Chris have to help? He didn’t even know what I was doing ha ha. Oh and what about Indie (our dog), maybe she’d come in, I better close the door – whoops, too late!!
It all went smoothly and I was able to pull the container out without needing any assistance. There was also no dog to navigate and I could clean myself up.
I took my poo container out to the kitchen, popped my gloves on (I didn’t want to put them on earlier just in case I pooed on them and then needed a back up pair – that I didn’t have) and grabbed my sample spoon. I took my samples, one at a time and popped them into the jar. They came off the spoon easily, I think the fluid in the container helped.
I put my sample spoon into my poo container, it was all going out into the bin, but before I popped all of that in a plastic bag, I closed the lid on my jar – that sucker wasn’t going anywhere. Nor was my poo, as I secured it for the outside bin (thank goodness bin day is Tuesday).
The next step was to shake my poo jar, so I did that for the required amount of time, I might have shook it for a bit longer. Then popped it into the postage bag with my information (they needed to know who it came from), sealed it up and walked it down to Chris.
‘Can you post this for me today?’
‘Sure, what is it?’
‘Ummm, my poo, I’m getting it tested.’
‘Right, well I’ve never done that before but of course I’ll post my princesses poo!’ He laughed.
‘Great thank you.’
Given Chris had a few appointments that day, I put it in a cooler bag with an ice brick in there, just to keep my poo sample fresh.
About 2 hours later, I got a call from Chris ‘your poo it in the mail.’ I laughed.
My Poo-tastic Results
Poo tests take about 4 weeks, and they weren’t ready for my 3rd appointment with Brooke. Because of my hair test results, I’d decided to get hair tests done for Teddy and Chris, you can read all about that in Project 22 Chapter 6, so I was dropping their hair samples off to her one Thursday afternoon.
On the Wednesday night before the Thursday, I got a text message from Brooke saying ‘I received your stool test – I won’t have time to go through them tomorrow but can get you stared on the required supplements straight away and go through everything in your next review.’
I had no idea what that all meant, i.e. was it bad, was it just something that we could tackle easily, but, me being me, I was excited for the next step – all in the guise of having more energy and feeling well again.
I dropped into to see Brooke before picking up Teddy from school. I gave her the hair samples and she put them in her postage pack straight away. Then she gave me the supplements I was to start taking and explained how to take them:
- SIBOGuard – 2 x with breakfast, lunch and dinner (6 per day)
- Oil of Oregano – 2 x with breakfast, lunch and dinner (6 per day)
- SB 5B Probiotic Gut Protection – 2 x after breakfast and dinner (4 per day)
I was a little deflated.
Over the last week I’d finished taking a few supplements, ones that I was taking before Brooke, such as the 4 x tinctures, multivitamins, omegas and cellular support. I felt like I was finally reducing some of the things I’d used for a while now moving from ‘self-prescribed’ to ‘professional-prescribed’ and I was enjoying seeing just a few supplements to take.
It was fun while it lasted, I thought.
‘So I have SIBO?’ I asked, noting one of the supplements was SIBOGuard.
‘Yes you do and we can talk more about it next time.’
I left with my new supplements and got started on them that night. Slowly at first, one at each meal, just because we had Teddy’s birthday party on Saturday and I didn’t want any ‘poo-explosions’ to happen.
The good news is, I didn’t have any side effects from taking the supplements, so I moved to the full intake on Sunday.
SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth, basically means I have more ‘bad’ bacteria in my small intestine, than ‘good’ bacteria. If left untreated this could lead to a host of health issues, including, but not limited to:
- Stomach ulcers
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable Bowl Syndrome
- Other autoimmune diseases
Inflammatory foods like sugar, can be a big culprit in growing bad bacteria. So my old love of chocolate and sweet things, has kept them happy for years.
Interestingly, diving into bacteria has taught me a thing or two, and one of those things is we can have aerobic bacteria (bacteria that needs oxygen to live), anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that will die around oxygen) and facultative anaerobes (bacteria that function best with oxygen but do not need it). You can read more here: Bacteria
I’d never heard the terms aerobic and anaerobic used outside of exercise, so when the guys came to service our septic tank and they started using this language, I called my Naturopath friend and she laughed at me ‘yes, bacteria can be aerobic and anaerobic.’ Down the rabbit hole of research I went!
The good news with SIBO, and like any gut health issue, you can heal your gut.
Our guts are our second brain and it’s where most of our happy hormones, serotonin are produced – yep about 80%, so how about we heal our guts and be happier – sounds good to me!
Getting to the root cause
I want to briefly chat about the benefits of working with someone who looks at the root cause, rather than treating the symptoms. I have a very ‘open’ GP (General Practitioner) but (and I will check with him – I have checked with another friend who is a GP), I believe, they wouldn’t be in a position to diagnose SIBO.
When looking at my blood tests, from a GP perspective, I look healthy enough. My repeat pattern over years of working with GPs is, blood tests look ok, yes iron is a bit low, but take an iron supplement and eat red meat.
There are a couple of issues here, but one in particular is that the supplements I can buy over the counter are ‘watered’ down version of what I can get through a practitioner. What I mean by ‘watered’ down is, they’re fit for self-diagnosis, where as practitioner supplements can only be dispensed by a practitioner. For example, I take Magnesium and I’m going to share with you the difference between what I receive from my Naturopath versus what I can buy when walking into a shop.
- Naturopath Magnesium (note there are different brands and practitioners use their preferred brands) contains:
- Magnesium (from Magnesium amino acid chelate) 150mg
- Magnesium (from Magnesium citrate) 100mg
- Magnesium (from Magnesium orotate dihydrate) 30mg
- Magnesium (from Magnesium phosphate pentahydrate) 30mg
- Shop version 1 Magnesium contains Magnesium (from Magnesium citrate) 150mg
- Shop version 2 Magnesium contains Magnesium (from Magnesium glycinate) 300mg
The shop version might be exactly what you need, but for me, I choose to go for the good stuff (my definition) and make sure my body’s getting what it needs when it needs it.
Another issue is that parasites eat iron. Yes, apparently that’s a thing! Our bodies can contain parasites that are surviving whilst we’re struggling. Our job is to remove them from our bodies so we can thrive and like anything, this isn’t one and done. These little buggers are small like the bacteria – you and I can’t see them and don’t know when they’ve entered our bodies, so do yourself a favour, work with a professional who can help you get rid of the nasties so you can thrive too!
I mentioned earlier, that if I paid attention perhaps I would have seen the signs that I had some sort of digestive tract issue. Now this doesn’t mean if I’d seen the signs I would have done anything about it, but over the last few years I’ve noticed certain foods that play up with me.
Actually longer than that.
I stopped drinking cows milk, I would say, about 25 years ago. I’d have it occasionally but I knew that there was a chance I’d be on the toilet pretty quickly. It didn’t happen all the time, but it did happen.
Chocolate could also send me to the toilet, but I so wasn’t giving that up, until 2021. I’m still chocolate bar and block free – a huge achievement for me.
I used to eat granola and coconut yoghurt, but that started to bloat me, so I stopped eating it.
Then over the last 6 months or so, I noticed that when I ate things like dates or prunes, I’d be off to the toilet pretty quickly too and, on the Bristol Stool Chart, I’d be a 6 or 7. Cashews were often in the date slice, so it could have been them too (Check out Chapter 6 for all the details of what came up in my hair test).
The latest thing I’m noticing is grapes. When I eat too many grapes I can end up on the toilet pretty quickly. A few grapes are fine, half a bunch, not so great.
The other symptom I’ve been able to see is redness on my face. Much like when I used to drink alcohol, my face would go red, well when I eat certain foods you can bet my skin will be redder either later that day or the next day, plus a few pimples might pop up.
As opposed to the days when I haven’t eaten certain foods, my skin can be perfectly clear. It’s interesting to watch.
I’ll do a future chapter for you on Face Mapping. This is using Chinese Medicine Philosophy, that parts of your face reflect organs in your body. The areas that were flaring for me was the front of my right cheek bone – my small intestine, and on my left side, directly out from my eye and towards my cheek bone – my liver.
So what other symptoms can you expect to see if you have challenges in your digestive tract? Well here are a few:
- Farting – yes it’s natural but there is a line and it’s a sign if you’re farting a lot more than your norm.
- Bloating in your belly
- Weight you just can’t shift, no matter what you do
- Cramping in your belly
- Diarrhea and constipation
Do you have any of these? What foods have you been eating? It could be a good experiment to do.
My next step
In terms of my next stool test, I’m booked in for May 2022, 6 months after my first one. Hopefully, by then we’ll have reduced a lot of that bad bacteria and brought my small intestine back into balance.
What happens when you fall off track? For some of us, and it’s been me in the past, we can choose the other train, but I like to get back on the train and keep going. We’re human and stuff happens, so let’s keep going on our journey and I’ll share with you in the next chapter what happened when I fell off the wagon.
You can check out everything about my Project 22 over here.
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Are you going on your own journey in 2022? Then tag me and use #project22 so we can connect xo
Everything shared in this post and across my website is my story and recollection of conversation and events. They are in no way medical or mental health advice, prescription or diagnosis. Should you be interested in what I’m sharing and what this could mean in your life, then I’d encourage you to engage with the relevant health professionals or if you need support please seek out the health professionals that can support you.
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