There’s nothing that feels finer than being bloated, right? Well, unfortunately it’s a topic that tons of people can relate to. Sometimes feeling bloating comes and goes with hormonal fluctuations. Even more commonly bloating is a side effect of digestion issues, usually stemming from IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] or food sensitivities. Sometimes, however, bloating is a sign of something deeper that is out of balance. And when you feel bloated every day – every single time you eat – it can really start to affect your life. This is when it might be worth your while to look into small intestinal bacterial overgrowth [SIBO].
Today we’re honored to share the story of one of our dearest Prescribe Nutrition users, Kaitlin. After years of dealing with chronic bloating and digestive problems, Kaitlin worked to uncover some deep rooted imbalances. Her experience is confirmation that there is truly nothing more important in health than understanding what YOUR body needs, because your body is unique, unlike any other. When you understand the connection between food and how your body responds, you can change the trajectory of your health. Kaitlin is proof of that.
My journey began on vacation in the Fall of 2012. I was experiencing a severe stomach ache when someone offered me a piece of homemade German chocolate cake. The pain was so bad I had to decline. It was the first time that I can ever remember saying no to a piece of cake. Little did I know it would be the first of many “no’s” I would be saying to foods I’d always loved.
After that day, the stomach ache soon turned into bloating, which turned into running to the restroom 6-9 times a day. As if that wasn’t enough, my face broke out, my skin condition on my arms and legs was inflamed, I had horrible gas (TMI?), very low energy and erratic mood swings. It got so bad I had to borrow larger sized pants and shirts from my loved ones because mine were no longer fitting.
During that time I was never comfortable in my own skin and not knowing why was eating away at my spirit. The worst part was no one could see it but I could feel it. When people would say, “I don’t notice anything, you look great,” I started to think, am I just losing my mind? I always prided myself on eating right and exercising so why was this happening? Something wasn’t adding up. Lines were so blurred and I was left with constant confusion and wonderment. Why do I look like I am 5 months pregnant? Why could I eat Brussels sprouts without getting sick but not an apple? What happened to my carefree, go-with-the-flow attitude? Wait, did I ever have that? Nothing was clear.
It seemed every doctor’s appointment started out in a similar fashion. I would begin by explaining my history and then somehow found myself justifying my reasons for being there. “Is this actually about you wanting to lose weight?” “Are you sure you fully understand what it means to be gluten-free?” “Are you sure you are in pain, or did you just eat something bad today?” Every appointment brought on more and more confusion, self-doubt and utter frustration. It seemed all my well-meaning doctors would go ahead and order test after test because they were just as curious as I was.
I decided it was time I took matters into my own hands. That is when I found myself at Prescribe Nutrition’s door. I worked privately with Megan, and from day one I was ready to do anything she told me to do. I cut it all out. No more processed foods, gluten, dairy or sugar. My mornings went from oatmeal to green smoothies, my snacks went from crackers and cheese to fruit and nuts, and my dinners went from whatever was easy to homemade soup I had made over the weekend. It was a complete lifestyle change but I trusted the process.
After a few months I noticed my symptoms were easing up and my discomfort was going down. Eventually I felt so much better I thought I was finally in the clear and ready to close this horrific chapter. It was not long after, however, that the symptoms began to creep back in. The bloating, the gas, it was all back; I mean how much can a girl take? I took Megan’s advice and was back on the hunt for a medical doctor, but this time a naturopathic specialist. I found my gal. After my first meeting with this doctor I was assured that this could all be fixed. It truly was not in my control after all. I was told to stick to my strict diet Megan put me on and complete some diagnostic tests.Weeks later I found out I had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This basically meant bacteria had completely taken over my body and had been wreaking havoc ever since. After the diagnosis I began a strict treatment plan. In a matter of days I began to see a transformation of my body. The bloating and gas subsided, my skin began to clear, my energy shifted and I no longer felt irritable or the desire to go to bed at 6PM. It wasn’t a magic pill that cured me – it was a combination of food, therapeutic support and understanding my body.
After three LONG years I have found myself on the other side only to have a greater appreciation for my health a deep passion for nutrition. The power of food is real. If something in your mind and/or body does not feel right, it’s probably because it is not. Seek out the answers, seek out the help, don’t feel ashamed to do so and don’t give up. It wasn’t until I worked with Prescribe Nutrition that I started to see and feel the light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope by sharing my story I can inspire someone struggling with similar frustrations. I felt very much alone during the earlier part of my journey and if I could reach someone today, feeling that very same way, so they don’t feel alone anymore, then I have done something right.
We thank Kaitlin for bravely sharing her story! Digestive issues are no joke, and can feel like a real doozy to navigate. If you this story sounds oddly familiar to you we encourage you to learn more about SIBO. Our favorite SIBO site to learn more is Dr. Allison Siebecker’s. She has a tremendous amount of insightful information. The good news is that you can test for SIBO by doing a breath test administered by your doctor or naturopath. SIBO is treatable by modifying diet + implementing antibiotics or herbal antibiotics.