The short answer? No, I don’t think you should.
That said, you will also find that your doctor, whether primary care or gastroenterologist, will, with more than 95% certainty, be completely in the dark about SIBO. They will tell you it’s stupid, there’s no such thing, “don’t waste my time,” or refer you for an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy after which the gastroenterologist will declare, “Good news: You don’t have stomach ulcers or colon cancer. See you in 5 years.” You say, “But what about my SIBO question?” Once again: it’s stupid, there’s no such thing, “don’t waste my time.”
I’ve seen this happen countless times. Whenever something is new and non-revenue-generating, it is very difficult to obtain the attention of physicians. This will likely change for the better as the next generation of healthcare providers obtain their education over the next 20-30 years but, in the meantime, you are left having to deal with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, autoimmune diseases, migraine headaches, food intolerances, acid reflux, skin rashes, diverticular disease and other conditions by just suffering or being subjected to absurd modern medical treatments that are no more than symptom-reducing maneuvers that almost never address the underlying cause.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, and its common accompanying condition, small intestinal fungal overgrowth, SIFO, are signature health conditions of our age. While I have proposed that these conditions easily affect over 100 million Americans, a modern epidemic on a par or even exceeding that of the type 2 diabetes/pre-diabetes epidemic, the new AIRE device that identifies the increased breath hydrogen of SIBO is confirming that SIBO is exceptionally common. (We do not yet have a consumer level device or method to confirm SIFO.)
There are now also two herbal antibiotic regimens that have been shown to be as effective, or perhaps more effective, than conventional antibiotics, including the antibiotic-of-choice, rifaximin. So, if your doctor is ignorant, and you can obtain the AIRE device and herbal antibiotics on your own, can you just take the herbal antibiotics without the doctor and eradicate SIBO?
I would not recommend it. While I am a vocal proponent of being Undoctored, there are strategies and details to SIBO and SIFO that mean that you would do better—greater likelihood of success, better results, protection from common recurrences–with guidance and discussion. In our weekly Undoctored Inner Circle Virtual Meetups, for instance, we talk about SIBO and SIFO and the widely varied experiences people are having. Should you consider adding a biofilm disrupting agent to your regimen? How important are prebiotic fibers such as hydrolyzed guar gum during treatment? What should you do if your AIRE score never drops? What steps should you take to prevent recurrences? What constitutes an effective anti-fungal regimen? Should you institute anti-bacterial and anti-fungal efforts concurrently or sequentially?
We have made great progress in navigating the nuances of SIBO and SIFO. To appreciate just how far we have come, go ask your primary care doctor some of the above questions and witness the complete blank stare you obtain in response. We also learn from each other’s experience.
I cannot overemphasize just how widespread and how important this new world of managing the human microbiome, including SIBO and SIFO, are to long-term health. Join our discussions in the Undoctored Inner Circle and be a part of this collaborative education process.