Anxiety: A "Gut Feeling"
Where does anxiety start? In your thoughts or in your gut?
Often people with symptoms of a digestive condition are told that they are anxious and that their anxiety and stress cause their symptoms. We have found that many times this relationship is reversed. Our doctors have seen symptoms of anxiety resolve when the underlying digestive condition is treated.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a common condition accounting for over 60% of people with IBS. We have also seen patients that have SIBO and do not display the classic IBS symptoms.SIBO is not an infection, it is an excessive overgrowth of normal GI bacteria in the small intestine.
SIBO can cause symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, depression, headaches, joint pain and more. The overgrown bacteria are mostly a type of bacteria that have a cell wall that the immune system reacts to as a foreign invader. These immune-stimulating pieces of cell wall are called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or endotoxin. When the immune system detects this LPS it produces inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines affect the brain directly causing mood and cognitive changes.
The Cure for SIBO and Associated Anxiety:
The first step is to determine if SIBO is the cause of your anxiety or other symptoms. Your naturopathic doctor can run tests to diagnose the condition. One type of test is a breath test. This is a simple test that can detect the presence of bacteria in your small intestine by measuring the gases that bacteria produce. A second type of test that may be ordered is a blood test for certain antibodies. These antibodies are only present in patients that have a type of SIBO that occurs after food poisoning.
Treatment for SIBO is varied. The doctors at Bloom Natural Health are familiar with all treatment options and can counsel each patient in the best option for them.