Could this be SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth?)

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hey there , i've posted a few times here before about my issue. Basically it all began about 14 months ago after i got a nasty bladder infection. Went to the docs and got some strong antibiotics 'ciprofloxacin' for it. Initially i took it for 14 days as per the doc but then the infection seems to still be present after that so the doc gave another 14 days and that solved the infection. So in total i took a month of cipro antibiotics.

Strange thing is , few days after cipro i started getting weird stomach pain problems i never had before. I could eat anything and everything i wanted before that course of antibiotics though. So things got worse , and about 1 month later i had constant heartburn, went to the GP again and got pantoprazole this time my first PPI. my problem never stopped since then i mean i've been on and off PPIs since then till today. Any PPI you can name it , ive tried it but they all just cover the heartburn , when the drug runs out the burning comes back. So now i've been doing alot of research and i come to conclude that i might have SIBO which makes sense since the antibiotics could have killed too many or all of my 'good bacteria' so leaving the bad ones left to over grow after cipro. Does anyone think i might be right? Anyone having similar experiences?

My other symptoms which comes on and off besides heartburn is - abdominal pain, spasms, muscle twitching, more than usual burping and farting, unable to gain weight, feeling tired sometimes with no reason. I've done untrasounds, OGDs , bloodtests and all came back with nothing unsual so i really believe it could be SIBO as none of these tests could detect it.

Ive told my gastro doc about this before and he didn't dismiss that it might be bacteria since his approach is to feed me PPIs but for the next follow up i will discuss SIBO with him and probably ask to do the breath test. Would love to hear your stories and how you got rid of SIBO for those who have it. I really want my life back as i'm only 27 and it feels like nothing i ever felt before, this is 1000x worse than a cold.

1 like, 14 replies

14 Replies

  • Edited


    Yes it sounds like the antibiotics have thrown out your gut flora and the heartburn may be caused by gas causing pressure which pushes the acid up. If you have no other stomach complications (like gastritis or excess acid) then you shouldn't be getting heartburn. The SIBO can cause the symptoms you say, but most conventional docs won't entertain SIBO. You'll need a natural doc.

    In the mean time try cut out refined sugar and fodmaps foods (google it) and take probiotics to try and balance your healthy gut bacteria.

    Once your gut heals and you restore your balance you should feel better. And get off the ppi if you can as it will just make the over growth of bacteria worse.

    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I'm trying to cut off the ppi now but it doesn't seem to work much as the reflux is quite constant. Do you have sibo or know anyone who had it ?

      Probiotics doesn't seem to work for me though so i'm thinking i might need antibiotics first then rebuild the gut with probiotics.

    • Edited

      You will experience a period of acid rebound when you come off ppi. Don't come off cold turkey. Use h2 blockers to ween off.

      PPI's have their uses but it sounds like they just make you worse.

      What's your diet like ? When you have heartburn you need to cut out acidic things for time being, and no coffee and reduce dairy. Keep your acid levels down.

      I had gastritis caused by h pylori and when I took antibiotics and ppi to kill it my guts went a bit down hill and I got IBS and bloated a lot. I found if I ate gassy vegetables (brocolli / cauliflower etc) I would be real bad and have excess acid and pain and wind.

      I came off ppi and ate strict for a few weeks and also took probiotics and I picked up over time. Your body will heal but it takes time (months) and you have to allow it to heal. Diet and lifestyle is the only way to do that. Eat clean and avoid trigger foods and you will pick


    • Posted

      Well i eat alot of rice but my diet would be considered 'healthy' in my country as im chinese. I dont drink coffee but do tea, don't take much fried and oily stuff though. I'm trying to cut down on the rice as well.

      I'd like to get the breath test done first to see if it's sibo though. But yeah this will need alot of time to be fixed , even if that's possible.

  • Posted

    Kevin, sounds like you've been "floxed" by cipro which is a fluoroquinolone. If you have a Facebook account, join the group fluoroquinolone toxicity. Or better yet Google fluoroquinolone toxicity. You are exhibiting many of the same symptoms, especially muscle twitching, spasms, fatigue, etc

    Many become magnesium deficient after taking fluoroquinolones.

    It is possible to recover. Many people make diet changes and start supplements to help them recover. Good luck to you!

    • Posted

      I tried taking magnesium and calcium supplements before but doesn't seem to help much. I do take tums when i'm not taking PPIs for the mild burning and also for the calcium. I've seen like 3 gastro docs and the previous 2 doesn't seem to even look into the 'antibiotics  destroyed my gut' theory when i told them about it. 

      I would definitely be looking into bacteria as a cause of all my problems now and hopefully be able to cure or reduce the symptoms first. Any recommendation for supplements to cure this?

  • Posted

    Heartburn is a symtpom of lack of stomach acid as well you know. How do you know you have too much stomach acid requiring PPI meds? Who said?
    • Posted

      I did a stomach scope last year and they found i had GERD so doc gave me omeprazole for that. But now since the burning is constant hence i believe GERD is just a symptom not the cause of it.

      Hence i dug deeper and suspect SIBO to be the actual cause of my problems. Why sibo ? The food i eat goes down > gets digested by bacteria instead of my intestines > creates gas and pressure in the stomach > reflux and pain. This is what i believe now.

    • Posted

      I came to the similar conclusions with my issues. Since you said, looking back over the last 4 years before things went wrong I took more than 2 courses of those antibiotics.. I also was given last resort antibiotics which damaged a tendon in my neck in 2009 for a bladder/kidney infection of which I simply stopped taking because of the pain in my neck. I later discovered I had gum disease which had been going on for a number of years and I tended to place the blame firmly on it for my issues so whether it's that or a combination of factors isn't important, there's no way to prove anything now.. What I can do instead is try and fix it.

      By similar conclusions I don't mean I blamed the antibiotics, I mean I had figured out that my small intestings was lettiing certain foods reach my lower intestines where the bad bacteria were having a feast and thriving and basically causing a roadblock with all the gas they were producing.

      2 years of tests and trial and error and finally figuring this out and I started by ditching the omeprozole (They even had me on prednisone! whcih I took myself off) and taking probiotics every morning. Then I added digestive enzymes with every meal.. The stomach and upper gas issues got better but the lower intestine gas factory remained so I did some research and discovered that probiotics get digested long before they reach the lower intestines so I went about finidng something that would reach and feed the good bacteria and crowd out the bad and I found Flourishe which is designed to do just that... It's made from Chicory root and i'm sure there are similar profucts on the market.

  • Posted

    Hi, Interesting, I have been thinking maybe I have some symptom also caused by Ciprofloxacin, (see my other posts for all the details in the Kidney & the Bowel disorders forums 'Abdomial pain mostly left side some bowel changes (after poss recent kidney stones)'.

    I had what I initially thought was a prostate problem due to perinium pain/irritation later started to feel more like rectum area,  I was taking 2 x 500mg daily Ciprofloxacin for 15 days (some symptoms seemed to start shortly after starting the Cipro, eg feeling achy generally unwell, but pharamcy said it was ok). In the end I was diagnosed with Kidney stones by a plain xray and later after an contrast IVP was told the stones had passed.

    But now I have abdomial pains, mainly in left side but varies in position and intensity, with changed bowel movements, loose much more regular and sometimes watery.

    I too took magnesium for a while but it seemed to cause diarraha, taking 3 times a day magnesium chelate. But now maybe it was not the magnesium at all. I have started taking a probiotic yogurt drink for the last 3 days, last 2 days have been a bit better but its not been long enough to tell yet.

    I am in Thailand so my diet is maybe a little similar to yours, white rice with most meals, but quite a lot of spicy/fried foods. I have been eating more healthily for a while with salads and fruits and have intentionally lost a bit of weight also, cut out snacks. Coffee only in the morning, drink a lot of water. Maybe worth trying those probiotic drinks?

    • Posted

      Seems like you could have bacterial imbalance in your gut as well, no thanks to cipro. I'm trying to cut down on carbs right now substituting with tofu and more meat. I'll definitely consider the probiotic drinks though. 

      Have you seen a doc about this issue yet? 

    • Posted

      Yes I'm thinking more and more that its the Cipro to blame, I've not had symptoms anywhere near as long as you have but the symptoms I have now are not the original complaint I had back in mid May.

      I've been taking the probiotic yoguurt drink for a few days and it seems to be helping, the last 2 days were very good but it is back a bit again today.

      I was going to see a Gastro Doc yesterday, but as it seemed a bit better I didn't bother, but if I still have symptoms even mild next week i think I will go just to see what they say. Im kind of hoping the probiotic is restoring the good bacteria that maybe was destroyed by the Cipro.

  • Posted

    hi I have been in pain for many years . I'm old IBS then I'm told SIBO. but after doing m own research I came across this and it has a connection to SIBO it's called

    The Ileocecal Valve I think people should explore this who are like me living daily in pain .

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