Constant flatulence and small stools - IBS Network

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Constant flatulence and small stools

Hi I'm new to in here and wondered if anyone can give any suggestions to help with constant flatulence and small stools. I've suffered from this for over 20 years and have tried changing diet, seeing alternative health practitioners, probiotics, digestive aids etc but nothing really helps. It's highly embarrassing. Food seems to ferment away in my stomach. Ive been tested for celiac by blood tests, cut out dairy etc. I'm vegetarian and think I maybe "ruined" my stomach many years ago by eating too many carbs and too much sugar. I've stopped that now but it's as bad as ever.

Its put a huge huge blight on my life. Food just fermented away in my stomach

Any one out there suffer from this I have no pain or diarreah which I'm thankful for but do get urge to go to toilet and pass small stool then it all starts again!

Any help greatly appreciated

Thanks in advance!

38 Replies

Hi, Just wanted to reply as I too suffer with flatulence and burping lots. It is horribly embarrassing when with company of others and it feels very uncomfortable too.

Sorry, no advice as to help :-(


Thanks for replying. Sorry to hear you suffer too. I dont get the burping but it's all the other stuff that's chronic.

Maybe someone will have some advice.



Hi M1charly

It really is so embarrassing I know!

I’d hide in quiet corners if I was out, o and st home just standing up walking across the room flipping anything, the flatulence was just awful.

Even water had me burping!!

If you haven’t been tested yet for SIBO I’d definitely recommend it

I’ve started the antibiotics and even though it’s early days I have seen an improvement,

Hope this helps


What is the antibiotic that you have been on please?


Rifaximin Still early days, keeping my fingers crossed

Consultant prescribed it after positive breath test for SIBO

Hope this helps


Where do you live? It is not a prescribed drug in the UK.


I'm in UK. Not heard of that drug being prescribed


That's why I'm asking Ollie where he lives. Rifaximin is the drug I want but have been told it is a long way off being available in the UK.


Oh right. Will be the same for me then in UK thanks


I’m in Ireland

Wow!! I’m so sorry to here it’s not available in the UK. I can’t believe it!

I thought it was because I’ve seen it on some UK sites and NHS


Maybe a bulking medication like Normacol or Fybogel? It should bulk your stools out. And help you psss larger amounts just once or twice a day. My GP prescribes me Fybogel. I’ve tried Normacol too. They are both good but i prefer Fybogel. I used to go alot - but very little and very often and this has regulated my bowel. It has also helped the wind.

Hope you find something that helps. It’s not pleasant and I know how horrible it is feeling constantly windy

I think you can buy Fybogel over counter in UK but probably cheaper on prescription



Hi Jem. I also get terrible flatulence and it is very embarrassing. Have you tried seeing a dietician and a low FODMAP diet? And ensuring you have enough fluids? I found FODMAP helped with the pain and muscle cramps. But quite a lot of the high fibre foods are FODMAP triggers so don’t help with bowel movements. I did discover baobab powder earlier this year - which is high in fibre and doesn’t seem to be high FODMAP. I have a spoonful a day in water or a dash of juice and it has improved the BMs, which in turn has reduced the wind.


Hi there. Thanks for this. I will definitely try baobab. I've not heard of that. I will order it right now! I've saw numerous people over 20 odd years doctors, dietician, herbalist, nutritionalist etc! and tried everything under the sun but nothing helping much at all. I've been told to try fodmap diet but really hard with being vegetarian. I will need to try and do it again. I've tried probiotics etc. I dont have any pain which is one good good thing it's all just relentless and often foul smelling flatulence bad bloating and constant small bms which give me temporary relief until it all starts again its life limiting and highly embarrassing. I cant stay overnight with any1 or be in same room overnight with friends as it's so bad during night wind that cant be held in. No 1 knows how bad it is as I'm too embarrassed to describe it it's not the kind of thing u can chat about. When I say to friends about needing own room if weekend away etc they just think i mean I need to visit the toilet a lot and they say not to worry about going away and sharing rooms but it's the relentless wind I cant describe how bad to them. I will let u know how I get on with the baboon

Thanks so much for replying. So glad to hear its helping you . It must be a huge relief thanks


FODMAP isn’t easy - I’m veggie and allergic to cows milk, so I did find the initial FODMAP exclusion bloody hard. But doing it with a dietician did help and now I just avoid the main triggers (gluten and the onion family in my case, and stone fruit). You have my sympathies on the impact on your social life - I do end up avoiding eating a big lunch and not going out after eating dinner, as that’s when flatulence will be worse. But speeding up digestive transit with baobab and lots of fluids does seem to lead to more bowel movements and less flatulence I’ve found. It’s not rid entirely but it’s definitely reduced a lot. Good luck!


Thanks. Did you ever get tested for SIBO or just found help with the baobab


I’ve had colonoscopy, endoscopy and a barium scan, but I don’t think I’ve ever had SIBO test. I have been taking dandelion root tea as well as the scan brought up a slightly inflamed liver (consultant was rather dismissive about that though). But I came across baobab by accident - I was in a veggie cafe and they served baobab water and the next day I was ‘ho him well that did something...’


Thanks so dandelion tea helps stomach too? I was just wondering re the sino as most people and posts seem to suggest that's what I have but will be couple hundred more to test and I'm not sure I the antibiotic mentioned is even available here. I will give baoba a try. Did your stomach issues start after u became veggie


I’ve been veggie since I was a teenager so no. I think the first major flare up was a few years back - I think I just hit middle age and my stomach flora waved a white flag! Dandelion and milk thistle seem to be helping my symptoms. I’ve tried a ton of different probiotics but they don’t do much for me. It sounds like you might have a slow digestive transit and so food is spending a lot Of time and fermenting in your colon and then firing out with small poos and a lot of wind. Increasing your fibre intake might help (but with lower FODMAP foods - leafy greens, oats, some nuts maybe), reducing your intake of fermentable carbs, sugars, salt and processed food (avoiding high FODMAP triggers), plenty of water (nothing is going to speed through your colon if you’re dehydrated), and then something like baobab powder that might speed up how things travel through your colon. That’s the approach that has improved things for me.


Thanks yes I think you're right. I've been veggie since age 17 and I'm now just over 50 and it's been just over 20 years with these symptoms but I feel its down to me eating big carb dinners and lots of chocolate and I always craved sugar . I've stopped that now and eat more healthy and have also tried tonnes of probiotics. Will defo start drinking more water too I dont drink enough. Thanks for all those tips.

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Hi there Suze. I've just got the baobab powder. Do you think its best to take it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning maybe after breakfast or after a big meal. Doesnt actually say on the packet just to take a daily heeled spoon. Do u just store urs in a dry cupboard or in door of fridge thanks jem


Hello, this is my general response to help people repair and find a baseline of GI performance after addressing the factors that adversely interfere with it.

First, go to the doctors and get yourself checked for intestinal infections, and whatever other tests they want to do. Most people find they are all clear, and that IBS is a condition brought on by our modern diet, freely accessible food, sedentary lifestyles and is usually initially set off by a GI infection or other trauma to the GI tract, and is then maintained by several factors. Particularly for IBS-D (diarrhoea predominant), the gut becomes hypersensitive to certain triggers, and the official description is that a physical brain-gut dysfunction develops which causes the gut to over-react to mild stimuli. This leads to inflammation, and worsening gut performance that tends to spiral out of control. Be aware that in this state you can still get new GI infections, or have other underlying issues that are not connected to IBS, so you need to be vigilant for this, and if concerned then visit your doctor again.

The good news is that this situation is reversible, and you need to be positive that with the correct understanding and behaviours you can get your life back in control.

After 27 years of suffering with IBS I have found that the long-term solution that actually works for addressing IBS is about FOUR key topics: your vitamins, daily fasting periods, peristalsis control and toxic food additives.

You are effectively the manager of a “food nutrient extraction factory”, I know that sounds obvious, but I have found that IBS is not about medicines, but about changing the way you run the factory, and learning how to get the best performance out of it. Imagine a chaotic factory where the raw materials keep getting added half-way through a running reactor process, where someone is randomly messing with the speed dials of the processes, where the place is never cleaned, where you don’t have the right tools (vitamins and enzymes) to do the job properly, and the occasional spanner gets thrown in too. It’s not going to work well.

So after your doctor’s tests, if IBS is the diagnosis, then the first thing is to get familiar with the FODMAP diet, and be cutting out wheat and milk products at least, and replacing them with oats, gluten-free options and lactose free milk options, and understanding which fruit and vegetables you can eat. You can gradually work off this diet as your symptoms improve.

The next thing to sort out is your vitamins. An incident of food poisoning or GI infection can start you on a cycle that you need to make a really concerted effort to break out of. IBS causes vitamin deficiencies which are practically impossible to overcome in most people’s diets, especially if you’ve already adopted the FODMAP diet. But fundamentally, your vitamin levels affect the health of your intestines, and the health of your intestines affects your vitamin absorption and your production and effectiveness of your pancreatic digestive enzymes; it is a vicious circle that you have to break out of.

So, get some really good, expensive, multi-vitamins (ideally constituted for your age) and take them without fail every day with your breakfast. Get a blood test for Vitamin D and get you doctor to judge your supplement level required in IU’s to get you well healthy for Vitamin D. Do not get vitamins with high calcium and magnesium content initially as certainly in large doses these minerals can mess you up as they consume your stomach acid, and doses of magnesium will give you diarrhoea. You should get enough of these minerals from your diet. If you are on the low FODMAP diet, go for all lactose free dairy products can maintain your calcium, as unfortunately the diet tends to cut out almost all good sources of calcium.

Secondly, you should understand that your “food nutrition extraction factory” works on a batch-wise basis, and definitely not on a continuous process. So, you need to sort out your fasting periods immediately to give a clear break between batches, and the complete processing of each batch. This is normally overlooked by GP’s, but is an absolutely essential element for resolving IBS. Your small intestine should be practically sterile, and your stomach acid along with bowel cleaning contractions during fasting (called MMC) will usually do the cleaning. But, you need to fast for this to be effective, and by that I mean, ABSOLUTELY NO eating in between meals, ideally drinking only water. Imagine if you never washed your dinner plates and just kept putting food on them all the time!, they would be filthy and full of bacteria and this is what happens in your small intestine. This results in SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), which is apparently responsible for 85% of IBS cases, but is really only one of factors that you need to address. You need to give your small intestine plenty of time free of food for cleaning and maintaining the factory. The modern scenario of have cupboards full of rich foods permanently available day and night is a modern luxury outside of human evolution, and this is bad for you. Your stomach will sort itself out when you have got control of your small intestine (although if you've got gastritis you'll need to finish a course of omeprazole first), and then your large intestine will improve later as nutrients are more efficiently absorbed from your small intestine. Furthermore, you should be able to avoid future bouts of gastritis as during the fasting periods, your stomach becomes more neutral at nearly pH 4.

As a basic program, eat a good breakfast at say 7am (porridge with 50% almond milk or lactose free milk) or what suits you and then a good lunch at 12 o'clock – and absolutely no food in between. After lunch, no food at all for at least 5 hours, and eat well again for your evening meal because it has got to get you through the night. Ideally, no food after 7 pm, no supper or snacks, no food or milk at all until breakfast the next day. You will feel hunger in the fasting periods, but you will not starve, and this is doing you good!, You must NOT respond to the hunger - only with water or fruit tea. This is CRITICAL. Unless you are in a very healthy GI state, a mid-morning or afternoon snack interrupts your set meal digestion, causing acidity, SIBO, and driving premature advancement of food into your colon resulting in putrid fart gases mentioned later. Importantly, when you are feeling better, do not resort to your old ways, you are still recovering as you intestinal villi repair and become more efficient, and you need to make a life-style change to have this level of discipline in your eating and continue with it. It takes a few weeks at least, and you need to persevere with this. Failing on this will undermine all of your other good works. In a couple of weeks, you should be able to be getting off the low FODMAP diet, and begin working back the higher FODMAPs slowly into your diet. Some people recommend longer fasting periods, but for me the regular program above is sufficient without going extreme.

If your farts really stink like something died in your guts, then this is because partially undigested proteins are making it through to your large intestine and the amino acids lysine and arginine are being metabolized by bacteria into cadaverine and putrescine which are the compounds that give the smell to rotting flesh! – do not worry that you yourself are rotting, this is just temporary, but it shows that you really need to sort your digestion out. One reason for this can simply be that you have eaten more proteins than you can handle, if your gut peristalsis is too fast.

So, the third aspect of IBS is peristalsis control, also called gut motility. This is the speed at which your intestinal contractions drive food through your intestines. IBS-D can be characterized as having excessively fast gut motility or excessive peristalsis, while IBS-C is where the motility and peristalsis is too slow. If it’s too fast, then your digestive enzymes don’t have enough time to work on the food and for you to absorb the nutrients, and the food is driven prematurely into your colon which gives IBS-D. “Digestive enzyme” supplements are usually plant-based enzymes which work in a wider pH range than your own enzymes, and so can get to work on the food while it’s still in your stomach and also during transit through your small intestine, and so boosting the work of your own pancreatic enzymes, that are released by your pancreas into your small intestine. In this case, not only are you ensuring you have sufficient enzymes working on your food, but you are also gaining extra time for effective enzyme and food mixing and action. I would suggest trying some multi-component digestive enzyme supplements, and take these with at least two meals a day, particularly your heaviest meals. You want them to contain at least amylases, proteases, and lipases (for starches, proteins and fats respectively), but they can also contain other enzymes such as cellulase (for tough vegetables) and betaine HCl which helps with stomach acid production. Pancreatic enzyme production can decrease as you get older, and is also affected by stress/anxiety, vitamins, and the general health of your guts. You want to be sure that undigested food does not get to your large intestine where the bad bacteria will go to town on it, causing bloating, inflammation and pain. Using enzymes for IBS-D can improve your nutrition and help you to break out of the IBS cycle, but for IBS-D you still need to slow down that gut peristalsis.

This is affected by several things:

Caffeine massively stimulates peristalsis of the intestines and so this is negative for IBS-D, but positive for IBS-C. Between meal snacking, spicy foods, black pepper, chilli peppers, sucralose, sorbitol, black tea, coffee (and de-caffeinated coffee!), peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds, black beans also stimulate peristalsis. The general advice given for IBS is to cut down on tea/coffee stimulants, no more than 3 cups a day is the NICE guidance, but this entirely depends on whether you have IBS-D, IBS-C or a mixture of both. If you have IBS-D, you must cut out tea and coffee altogether, and for IBS-C you could try drinking more! You can “tune” your gut peristalsis by how much tea or coffee you can tolerate in a day. A mug of coffee contains about 120 mg of caffeine, there is about 50 mg in black tea, and 30 mg in the same volume of coke. A Pro-Plus caffeine tablet only contains 50 mg of caffeine (equivalent to one cup of tea!), and if you were having 10 of these a day you would rightly be concerned! Caffeine is a drug with no nutritional value. The half-life for excretion of caffeine from your body is between 5 and 15 hours depending on your health. So, it can take about three days to remove it all from your body to know how you would really perform without it. For IBS-D, you must do this, and then try re-introducing it by one cup per day (starting with tea), and then do not exceed what you determine is the optimum for you. You may only tolerate one cup of tea per day, or none at all, as in my case. Acknowledging this powerful effect is very important, because even if your natural enzyme levels are good, and you also take enzyme supplements, if your gut peristalsis (motility) is too fast you will still drive undigested food to your colon causing all of the usual symptoms simply because these enzyme reactions take TIME. Be aware that, caffeine also “drives” anxiety, agitation and nervousness. If you are also suffering from stress, then tea and coffee is definitely not helping you. Caffeine is a drug substance, it’s just that as a society we’ve mistakenly chosen to ignore that important fact, and have adopted living with a certain caffeine fuelled life as being normal. Even de-caff coffee, contains other substances that trigger gut peristalsis, so with coffee you just cannot win.

Gut peristalsis is very sensitive to adrenalin. A friend of mine says that “adrenalin not used by your muscles goes to your guts” and there may be some truth to this. If you have a busy life, you are probably not coasting along on a bed of feathers, and you probably not aware of your almost constantly high adrenalin levels – that is until you start actively lowering them. Crucially, what does work, is hard exercise to burn up your adrenalin and stop it interfering with the nervous system of your guts. My advice is to do something every day, whatever you can manage in your busy life, it will all help. It will improve your gut motility, general health, bone strength, relieve tiredness, help you sleep better, improve your mental agility and help get your anxiety under control. To many people, exercise may seem like a waste of time, but it is equivalent to spending a bit of time sharpening an axe – of course it is not wasted time, but time very well spent in servicing your whole body and mind.

Closely related to this (and possibly more importantly is serotonin), which is a controlling hormone for your bowel, and is the target of low-dose anti-depressants used for IBS treatment that are used to raise your levels of it by inhibiting its destruction. TCA’s (tricyclic antidepressants) are used for IBS-D, and SSRI’s are used for IBS-C. It is important for your doctor to get this the right way round if you choose to try the medicine route. Exercise increases your serotonin levels, but there are also two other surprising ways to do this: 1.) increase your agreeableness (and avoid hostility), 2.) bright light, i.e. get outside in the daylight as much as possible and avoid dim lighting indoors.

The fourth aspect of IBS is that some food additives are quite simply toxic for you and cause direct irritation and inflammation of the colon, allergic reaction of the colon, or they are laxatives that give you diarrhoea that you didn’t realise you were eating.

1.) Try to seek out and eliminate “trans-fats”. These cause direct inflammation of the colon, and you will be more sensitive than most people and this confuses what is causing you trouble. Chips, hash browns, butter, doughnuts, popcorn and things cooked in cheap or old frying oil as you find in many restaurants and commercial products can give you colon pain directly through inflammation. It can take up to three or four days to recover from this inflammation, but trans-fats are bad for you in a miriad of ways (cardio-vascular and diabetes etc), not only by inflammation of the colon. A big problem here, is eating out at commercial outlets that do not change their cooking oil often enough. There is evidence that as cooking oil is re-used that the trans-fats (and other compounds) increase. So, if you want fried food as a treat, do it at home with new oil at a low temperature, and only use it once. Ideally, starches should only be boiled, rather than fried.

2.) E407, or “Carrageenan” – is a food additive derived from a red seaweed, which is only present in small quantities as a thickener, but even at low levels it has been shown to be “highly inflammatory to the digestive tract” and associated with IBS, colitis and other GI diseases. There is loads of literature and objections to this substance on the internet. It is present in commercial Crème Caramels, soft cheeses, and many other dairy and meat products. After weeks of good health, just one of these products can knock you out for 24 hours with colon bloating and pain. I have found this by trial and error several times. Food tests show that even the food grade carrageenan contains between 2 and 25% of the non-approved “degraded” carrageenan, which is colon damaging and carcinogenic. Some food agencies now prohibit this additive altogether, and it may be responsible for a lot of IBS cases. It might be found in chocolate milk, cottage cheese, cream, crème caramel, ice cream, almond milk, diary alternatives, such as vegan cheeses or non-dairy desserts, coconut milk, creamers, hemp milk, rice milk, soy milk, and particularly processed meat. It is used extensively in cheap meats and is even injected into beef joints – so always get organic or local butcher fresh good quality meat!). It may be labelled as E407 or Carrageenan, but if you’ve got IBS, you must consider it as highly toxic for you.

Carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC) which is more widely used in the food industry, and has similar toxicology in animal studies, giving inflammation of the colon. However, the jury is still out on CMC to its impact on humans, and personally I can tolerate this.

I’ll also mention here mono-sodium glutamate (MSG). Clinical trials and several scientific articles connect MSG with IBS, so given the option to avoid it you should avoid it.

Also, NICE advises against the use of Aloe Vera for IBS - although I would say for the hydration of skin burns the pure plant gel itself is miraculous, so I would recommend you get a tube of this for your medicine cabinet for minor burns.

3.) E338, E339, E340, E341, E450, E451 and E452, are phosphates, diphosphates or polyphosphates as different salts. Natural phosphates are essential for life, and your body is full of organically bound phosphates, however, free ionic phosphates have several problems. Firstly, they are laxatives and will give you diarrhoea (sodium phosphate was once used to prepare patients for colonoscopies!). Secondly, they are associated with cardiovascular disease and accelerated aging. Since the 1990’s we are now exposed to twice the amount of added phosphate in foods; this is bad. There are calls to have added phosphate labelled on products as a health warning. Particular culprits are mass produced sausages and processed ham and chicken slices (and other meats), some cheeses, and cola (both diet and normal). So, always buy ham “on the bone”, which usually has no phosphate added. Personally, all phosphate additives in commercially processed meats make me ill.

4.) Aspartame and other sweeteners definitely have a negative role to play in IBS for many people. As with the other toxins above, your ability to cope with them varies on a spectrum. If you look at some of the work of K.J. Mielke, many of these additives can be allergens or “pseudoallergens” and with time you can develop a colonic reaction to them. The best sweetener for IBS is normal table sugar (sucrose), otherwise, it’s “Stevia” which is quite a new plant based sweetener and seems to be safe for IBS.

Other points...

There is a lot of support for L-glutamine to help with repair of your small-intestinal lining; this means buying 500g of the bodybuilder powder type and having a couple of tea-spoons of this a day - one before breakfast and one just before you go to bed, and you can have this in a light cordial drink. I don’t think this is a permanent requirement, but I think it may help you recover more quickly from long term issues.

Excessive burping which starts a couple of hours after eating can be due to excessive acid being neutralized by the sodium bicarbonate that is released by your pancreas, releasing more CO2 than you can cope with re-adsorbing. The simple remedy for this is to take a couple of ant-acid tablets, or Ranitidine.

I am not a fan of pro-biotics, I have never found that they actually do anything for me compared to getting control of fasting and peristalsis. However, I have had more success with pre-biotics, which are basically food for your large intestine good bacteria. This helps to strengthen the lining of your colon, and further improve your resilience to potential trigger foods and inflammation. Again, I would only use these periodically for a few weeks to help you back to a good state which you can then manage with the other good behaviours. It’s not that they do you any harm, but they are expensive and are just another thing to shop for. They can give a noticeable improvement in your GI comfort and performance, but don’t depend on them alone - it won’t last. You cannot get away with having poorly digested food getting to your large intestine.

I should add that although I eat bread and milk now in moderation, I am still cautious about high FODMAP fruits and tend to avoid them. The FODMAP fruit list is complicated, but an easy way to remember it is like this: the "fleshy", juicy fruits are bad, i.e. (nectarines, peaches, apricots, pears, apples, plums, dates etc), but segmented fruits (oranges, mandarins etc.) and all berries are generally OK as you are not likely to eat lots of them. Best of all is bananas which you can eat loads of. Microwave three of them until they are mushy and put a couple of fried eggs and cheese on them is my favourite weekend breakfast! For efficient fructose adsorption, you need glucose to be present with it in a ratio of 1:1. No enzyme will help you with fructose adsorption from fruits with excess fructose compared its glucose, but what can help is trying to balance the fructose with an excessive glucose fruit like banana. Bananas, figs, kiwis and pineapples have an excess of glucose over fructose, and so you can balance fruits with excess fructose. If you try using pure glucose powder, this will not travel slowly in your guts and you’ll still be left with excess fructose later on, so it is better to use bananas for the slow release of glucose to accompany the fructose. So you can experiment with this by making yourself a fruit salad mainly composed of bananas, and small amounts of other fruits. However, beware, that the problem with “fleshy” fruits (e.g. nectarines) is not only in fructose ratio, but also the polyols that they contain, which can still make you ill!

I should also mention hormone changes in women can be connected with IBS, affecting serotonin and the brain-gut nervous system, but being male I have no personal experience in this! Similarly, hypnosis is actually recommended by NICE as the best alternative therapy, again trying to get a grip on the nervous dysfunction. I have tried this, but for me I was just being very relaxed with your eyes shut for half an hour, and not spoiling the fun for everybody by pretending you actually are “hypnotized”! Unfortunately, I was £75 worse off for the privilege. However, like other psychotherapies it concentrates on repeatedly putting lots of positive thoughts in your mind, boosting your self-confidence and giving strategies for dealing with negativity, so I’d say it is a good complement for your psychology and anxiety, although it will not address fundamental organic issues like SIBO. But, as an example of your sub-conscious on your guts, try taking yourself off camping for a few days in a “proper” tent. The change of living environment will slow down your gut motility into emergency mode as your mind tells your body to get everything it can from the food you eat in case you don’t have any in the future. Camping also removes you from your usual daily anxieties, gives you more serotonin, and gets you more active.

Dealing with Flare-ups

First thing is, fix your SIBO as described above. If you still have SIBO symptoms, oregano oil capsules are very good, it is bactericidal, anti-inflammatory and can help with acute SIBO problems. It is not “gassy” as you may find with peppermint oil. Take some digestive enzymes, to ensure your digestion is complete. Fixing your SIBO has got to be your priority.

If you are on top of your SIBO, then a bowel toxin might hit you 5 to 8 hours after a meal as the food gets to your large intestine. The first line of attack in this case is ibuprofen which is far more effective than paracetamol for bowel pain, and I find that 200 mg alone is enough. Second, a couple of 10 mg Buscopan will stop the cramps. If you have IBS, always have available advance some linseed (the seeds) and natural aniseed (Star Anise), and when you are bad make the following tea: in a saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon of linseed, ½ to 1 anise star, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a squirt of lemon juice (bottled is fine), and one full mug of water. Boil to simmer, with stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, then sieve off the hot liquid back into the mug. This is a very effective remedy that I have used countless times, and it really does help. The reason that it helps (anecdotally) is that the “gooey” linseed extract coats the intestinal lining. There may be some truth to this, as some propose that the mechanism of intestinal inflammation is a chemical attack on the mucus lining of the intestine which then allows food particles be exposed to the more delicate tissues underneath, causing inflammation. The linseed goo would provide a temporary replacement to the mucus lining, preventing further inflammation. In fact, NICE recommends oats and linseeds for daily consumption for IBS patients.

A few of my most appreciated references…

“Treatment and Management of SIBO — Taking a Dietary Approach Can Control Intestinal Fermentation and Inflammation, by Aglaée Jacob, MS, RD; Today’s Dietitian; December 2012, Vol. 14 No. 12 P. 16”.


Oh my goodness. I cant thank you enough for all that detailed information. I've tried going to a nutritionalist and fasting and digestive aids and whole host of pills for few months and she then said to start the low fod diet. It was difficult as I'm vegetarian. This was a year ago though I've been trying to find a cure for 20 years! but I am going to read all this over thoroughly and try to digest it!!as there is so much info here. I take porridge oats every single morning with linseed strangely though with milk. I've tried taking lactose free milk and cutting out milk but made no difference. But like you say it's no easy fix and I have to get the rotten bits out b4 I can rebuild. It would I guess be like getting a filling at the dentist on top of a rotten tooth. If I could find a cure for this my life would be totally transformed!

Thank you !

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Hi Jem, please let me know how you get on. Kind regards, Stuart


Thanks I will and I'm going to try the babab which some1 suggested here that is helping them and start working which low fod foods I can slowly move onto. Can you cure Sibo without using antibiotics. I thought you had to use a certain antibiotic to start off along with doing all the other stuff. Reason I ask is the nutritionalist put me on a regime of digestive aids and other stuff along with fasting and I was to start low fod but I ended up stopping the regime. Is it worth getting the breath test do you think as others mentioned. Just checking as would be another couple hundred pound on top of the thousands spent but if that's the only way getting it diagnosed to get antibiotics . I'm sure she mentioned that last year if her initial plan didnt work I might need breath test and stool tests. Doctor did diagnose me with IBS many years ago but I dont know if NHS deal with sibo? Thanks


Hi Jem, no you don't need antibiotics to cure SIBO. SIBO is resolved by diet and fasting periods, it is a bacterial "overgrowth", elimination is not required. Breath tests are not always reliable. I would see how you respond just adopting this approach. Regards, Stuart


Great thank you again Jem


Hi Jem7

Sorry to hear about your problems.

I have almost eradicated my small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). As the name suggests this condition means there is a proliferation of bacteria (not necessarily pathogens or anything harmful, just too many!).

The SI is normally a relatively sterile area of the gut where a lot of absorption normally takes place. In the case of SIBO fermentation of foods happens above this usual activity which normally goes on in the large bowel. I mention this because you described "fermentation" in your case.

I was a meat eater when I got two bouts of enteritis close together in 2013. Whether it was this or the unnecessary antibiotics that followed that caused my SIBO is impossible to say but it was definitely the start of my problems.

I became a vegan in 2017 and follow a healthy whole food plant based dietary lifestyle. I would be a liar if I said this change didn't add to my problems. When I was finally (and correctly) diagnosed with SIBO I began to realise why a vegan diet was more challenging.

In a word, FODMAP's. Fermentable complex and long chain sugars, fermentable starches and soluble/insoluble fibres. All resting in my SI and causing bloating, cramps, wind, muscle pain and on occasions brain fog...yes, gut dysbiosis can be far reaching!

My advice is - get a diagnosis if you do not already have one. A Lactulose breath test seems to be the gold standard for SIBO.

Read up on FODMAP's. And do not adopt a Keto diet! While ketosis has shown short term benefits longer term scientific studies are starting to indicate what many of us have suspected...high fat diets are bad for you. Lipids clog your arteries and raise the risk of atherosclerosis and all cause mortality.

Checkout this study reported in The Lancet...

If you would like to know more about my experiences with SIBO drop a reply here or PM me.

Good luck!

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Thank you very much. I'm just trying to take in everyone's responses. Strange you mention avoiding keto. I've found that interesting too as my mum had alzheimers and I was out of desperation trying the coconut oil and reading the stories about long chain fatty acids etc.and how they can feed the brain towards the end of her illness. I will read up on everything and get back to you again if that's ok . It's hard being vegetarian and doing low fod. I also find vegan type foods bloat my stomach like I'm about to explode! thanks again


Your not alone, I'm going through this right now, even though a veteran of IBS since the eighties, no week is ever the same, or a certain meal can have no effect or it can wake you up in morning, clearing out the flat with foul smell !! I also have a diverticulita, that occasionally flares up, the two combined makes life very difficult, even though Im retired now. I find losing sleep on it, makes it worse, some days i will stay in bed and have hardly any solids. I take either Buscupam or Alverine Citrate, but as times goes by, these take a long time to work sometimes. Relaxation therapy to calm down the spasms can work, and try to keep reasonably busy, and not focus on every burp or wind, however hard that it, its difficult, but its a learning process to, to avoid being to sensitive about your stomach, actually makes it worse. Flatulence is one of the really annoying and sometimes painful part of IBS symptoms, I can get rid of a load of it for a few hours, but soon as I have a meal, its back again. One thing to avoid is greasy food. So its out with fish and chips from chippy. and KFC and Mcdonalds should be only a very rare treat. Pork pies, cornish pastrys, are all red things to me.

I do have a chinese once in a while, normally a chicken and pineapple and normal rice. batter balls will give you messy stools, and mostly rabbit droppings instead of what it should be. Sometimes, its hard finding food each week, that suits you. A couple of paracetamols will sometimes ease loose stools, but usually ends up getting constipation instead!! Fruit and greens in moderation, as they ferment. Summer fruits like fresh rasberrys usually agree with me, as does banana's. Best of luck, I, to and fed up with it, its supposed to get better as you get older, But if you have age related tummy problems like me, it sometimes feel your battling on two fronts. Regards Mike


Hi sorry to hear you suffer so badly as well. Being vegetarian I find it really hard to know what to eat and I do eat a lot of veg and fruits that are supposed to be healthy but often cause bloating And horrible symptoms. It's really difficult to manage especially as I work in a long open plan office. Even walking down the corridor I can feel it building up and trying desperately to hold it in. Desperate for a cure! Thanks so much for responding


Thanks so much for your response. It is highly embarrassing and I'm reading all the detailed info on here and going to try everything gradually. Thanks


Hiya, maybe get a breath test for SIBO? SmartNutrition are great, maybe have a read up on Sibo symptoms?


Hi there. Thanks for this. I've not had the breath test. I've spent hundreds of pounds over years or more like thousands on so many alternative health treatments but nothing worked and I wasnt sure how reliable a breath test would be and thought another costly test that i cant afford but as a few people in here have mentioned this could be worth a go even if not available on NHS I'm not sure if it is.

Thanks so much


The NHS sometimes tests for it but they only test for hydrogen sibo. It's best to be tested for methane dominant and hydrogen dominant as the treatment differs. It's about £165 for the private test, but once it's done it's done. Sibo opens up the door to loads of different digestive disorders - so if it turns out to be sibo, find a good functional medicine practitioner who is knowledgable in sibo, take your results and they can start you on treatment. Best of luck!

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Great thanks. I will have a look at the company you mention

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Hi Jem7

I know exactly what you’re talking about !

My GP said I had IBS and referred me to a consultant and she is great!!! She organized bloods, colonoscopy, and stool tests all clear and normal she also organized a breath test and it was positive for SIBO I started antibiotics (Rifaximin)

last Saturday it’s early days but it’s definitely having a good effect so far

One good stool in the morning, very little flatulence. I will be on these for 1 month, one tablet twice a day.

If you haven’t already tried the breath test I’d definitely recommend it

I hope you find what helps you


Hi there thanks for this. I'm glad to hear you are getting some help. I've not had a breath test and I wasnt aware you get get this on the NHS are you in UK England or Scotland.



I’m in Ireland, I had enough waiting around I went private for the test €140 money well spent for me as I’ve been living with this so long Aas far as I’m aware you can have the test on theNHS, I’m sure there are people here who will know. Might be worthwhile asking your gp, as you might need a referral (I did)


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