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Expert Warns Women Over 40 About ‘Misplaced’ Gut Bacteria (And Ways To Fix It!)

Experiencing stomach upsets, bloating, or fatigue? Well, a condition known as SIBO is a major culprit behind draining digestive problems especially in older women. Keep reading to learn more about SIBO and natural treatment tips for getting rid of it.

What is the main cause of SIBO?

“SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) occurs when bacteria that belong in the large intestine migrate into the small intestine,” says Raphael Kellman, MD, author of Microbiome Thyroid (Buy from Amazon, $13.99). “This produces imbalances in the gut that impair digestion and nutrient absorption, triggering symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, blue moods, bloat, and diarrhea or constipation.”

Women over 40 are at higher risk, as the digestive system slows down over time. The result: Food remains in the intestines longer, where it ferments, fueling bacterial overgrowth.

How do I get rid of SIBO?

Doctors can diagnose SIBO with breath tests that check for high levels of gases produced by overgrowth. And while many prescribe antibiotics, the effects can be fleeting. In fact, studies show SIBO recurs in 45 percent of sufferers after antibiotic treatment. The good news: The natural treatment strategies below help thwart SIBO.

Eating gut-healing foods can ease SIBO in as little as three weeks. Dr. Kellman advises filling up on carrots, kale, arugula, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus, and berries. “They’re high in polyphenols that prune back bacteria in the small intestine and fight inflammation.“ He also suggests eating protein-rich nuts, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, fish and chicken daily to nourish the gut and boost production of digestion-enhancing enzymes.

Sipping fennel and lemon balm tea can ease bloat and gas. Plus, studies show they have a natural antibacterial action. “Lemon balm also soothes the stress that can contribute to SIBO,” says Dr. Kellman, who suggests drinking two cups of these teas daily.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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