Diagnosis is a process that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. In my situation it took years. First, years for me to realize I had a problem. Then it took a couple more years of working with a doctor, without health insurance, and limited funds. Thankfully, my symptoms weren’t life-threatening. This year (2014), we finally made good progress on a diagnosis. It came as a result of another dietary change – going low carb. After the 2013 holiday season it became glaringly obvious that I needed to get my blood sugar issues back under control. I was also hoping that going low carb enough would help clear up the systemic inflammation I’d been suffering from for years . Sugars feed inflammation right? Made sense to take it out. Finally, I had gained and maintained some extra weight in the last couple of years and lowering carb intake is understood to help with weight loss.
Low carb challenge to breathe test to diagnosis!
After the initial discomfort that came from going from higher(200-100 grams) to lower carb(80-50 grams), I felt better. Then I tried to add fruit and sweet potatoes back into my diet. One thing at a time for proper testing, first a little fruit and then a few baked sweet potatoes fries. Instead of being fine I was miserable again. Anything mildly sweet or starchy (especially starchy) I bloated to the point of looking several months pregnant. This symptom pointed my doctor toward small intestinal bacterial overgrowth – SIBO for short. While my reaction to the breath test was delayed, which made the results not look particularly problematic, it was still considered a positive diagnosis. This was due to the the fact that it is fairly common for some people(especially those with constipation issues, which I’d had for years) to have delayed reactions. In case you are curious, the reaction was the same as if I had eaten starches or sugars – super-duper bloating paired with an inability to pass the gas in a timely manner. Result: giant food baby!
It was such a relief to have a diagnosis. A BIG relief. Everything I was feeling was real, it wasn’t all in my head. Diagnosis was step one. Treatment and prevention, which I’ll cover in another post, are steps two and three. While it’s not easy all the time, it’s been worth it. I no longer feel decades older than my actual age, and I have have much more energy and a more positive outlook on life. Wins all around!