Posts tagged ‘GI problems’

Praise the Lord for Probiotics

For anyone else out there who suffers from IBS-type “stuff” – boy do I have some good news for you.

Toward the end of October, I was having some major trouble. I have had a relatively easy-going experience with my bathroom habits ever since my surgery over a year ago, considering I have 12 inches of large bowel left. I’ve certainly had my days and weeks, but generally, it had been going well. But all of the sudden, it’s like my body remembered that I hardly have a colon and started revolting. And it’s favorite time to revolt? About 3am.

I’ve been doing some freelance work for Dr. Taormina and happened to ask him if he had any tips for what might be going on with me. He suggested that I try a probiotic. He’s never steered me wrong yet, so with his advice, I went for it.

And then I began hearing the angels in heaven singing.

Well, not really. But let’s just say after four weeks now of taking the probiotic, my problems are (mostly) gone. And the two occasions where I’ve had problems – I forgot to take the pill that day.Which means… I am definitely on the probiotics train now.


What Are Probiotics?

Basically, probiotics are a dietary supplement that help get your digestive system balanced. Probiotics are good bacteria, and essential for healthy digestion. Because the percentage of good bacteria naturally decreases as we age, our bodies sometimes need help getting some extra good stuff in. Often times diet and stress can disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria, and a probiotic can help balance you back out.

While there are a ton on the market, I will say that I’ve been taking a supplement called Align. There are several others out there – just make sure before you buy one that the #1 ingredient is not sugar. (Look on the back of the bottle.) I’d recommend going with a GI-doctor suggested pill before purchasing anything expense at your fancy drug store. Align is a little pricey (it was around $25 for a month’s supply) – but let me tell you – it’s totally worth it for this semicolon gal.

So that’s it folks. For any of my fellow GI-suffers, try it out and let me know how it goes, okay?

November 28, 2010 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

Blowing Into Test Tubes aka My SIBO Test

Last week, I had the unique experience of testing for SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. Characterized by symptoms like:  bloating;  gas; pain; diarrhea; irritable bowel syndrome; and other *fun* things, I thought SIBO had just become my middle name.

My friends at Midwest GI were explaining what exactly SIBO was, and suggested I take the test for it. I agreed since it seemed easy enough. I got a small kit to take home to do a breath test with simple instructions to follow. Yep, just like the cops test for booze, except this test is better – it’s testing for bacteria in your small intestine! Woo hoo!

The day before the test, I had to follow a strict diet. This wasn’t too hard, since it was basically the diet I followed post-colon surgery. I could only eat white bread, rice, meat and eggs. Here’s what my menu looked like:

Breakfast of bagels & toast

We call them "toad in the holes" (basically an egg in grilled bread)

Now, I will admit…. it started to get a little harder to follow at dinner.

Cookout! Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers

Sort of hard to pass all of this up.

I followed this diet for 24 hours before my test. Though challenging at times, I got through it. I woke up the next morning ready to dive in and blow into some test tubes!

I had to wait an hour after I woke up to begin. I started getting the preparations ready by laying out all of the kit’s contents and triple-checking the instructions. I also had to remind myself that I could not work out an hour before, nor anytime during, the test. Needless to say, I was ready to begin.

The Testing Begins

I took an initial baseline test, drank this sugary-substance stuff, and then blew into a new test tube every 20 minutes.

Halfway there!

Because I had to stay nearby, it was a great way to get some things done. But yes, after three hours of blowing into test tubes and not eating, I was ready for it to be over.


I finished all ten test tubes and then drove it back to Midwest GI for them to run the report. Super easy, and painless. I was so thankful that I could do it at home.

In my case, the test ended up negative – I do not have an overgrowth of bacertia in my small intestine. I’m guessing more of my complications have to do with post-surgery stuff, and because I only have a few inches of large intestine, much of my digesting is taking place in the small intestine. However, for anyone who does have their entire colon and still can relate to the IBS-like symptoms, I recommend getting tested! Even if you don’t have your whole colon, it’s worth getting tested if you’re having some similiar problems like too much gas or bloating. It’s an easy test, and could be the solution to your GI-related problems.

For more info about the SIBO test, click here.

May 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

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