I've learned so much from the people on this forum, and from many other sites and blogs, and wanted to organize and share what I've found, in the hope that I'll be able to offer some of the help I've gotten. I've been into alternative treatments my whole, now rather long, life, since my mother was into them, too. I was diagnosed with small intestinal bacteria overgrowth and mild gastroparesis in December. Prior to that I was operating on the idea that I had candida, and did much better on a candida diet. The gastro I saw in December doesn't believe in candida, and said the reason I felt better was that I wasn't feeding the bacteria in my small intestine. He didn't convince me not to believe in candida, but he did convince me to go along with the SIBO protocol: 2 weeks of riflaxamin and 10 days of neomycin (since my SIBO is C, not D.)
Before I did that, I cut way back on carbohydrates for a month, even coming up with a stuffing recipe for Christmas dinner that only had veggies in it. I wanted to avoid a heavy detox reaction, which I did. I did the protocol, which I'm certain helped eliminate bacteria, but since I'm so sensitive to all medications and, really, anything I put in my mouth, it's taken me a couple of months to get my system back in order, and I'm still working on it.
I'm still taking a very small dose of erythromycin, since it stimulates motility, which is why a full dose gives so many people diarrhea. I take it at night for the SIBO, so the small intestine will fully empty during the night. And I take it before meals if I feel my GP needs help, which is usually just at dinner. I'm hoping to be able to stop the erythromycin as other things take over.
That clue -- that things that give you diarrhea stimulate motility -- led me to what may be the most important thing for me, which is raising my serotonin levels. I was reading an excellent book on dealing with anxiety and depression, The Chemistry of Joy, and the author recommends raising serotonin levels with 5Htp, and mentioned that it can cause diarrhea. That led me all over google, discovering that we have more serotonin in our gut than our brains, and that, among other things, it regulates motility. So now I get to heal two birds with one stone! It's a great book for helping to keep overall emotional balance, as is his second book, The Chemistry of Calm.
I now use ginger before meals, because it's a gastric stimulator. I've bought bitters, but prefer munching on a mouthful of arugola so far. The idea is that the bitter taste stimulates the stomach to produce acid, which is often low in people with motility disorders. I take enzymes, though not with every meal, so that the pancreas doesn't get the idea it doesn't have any work to do. I take a small amount of HCL when I feel like I need to, again especially at night, or with harder to digest proteins, like lamb. That helps digestion in all sorts of ways, including making the environment too acid for the bacteria in SIBO. I've just started dirt-based probiotics, called Prescript Assist, since they are thought to be better for SIBO and for constipation than lactobacillus based ones.
I've been using pharmaceutical grade glutamine and DGL to soothe and heal the gut lining. I've started taking serrapeptase for other reasons, but one of its benefits for SIBO is helping to break down the biofilms the bacteria make to protect themselves while they nestle into the gut wall.
I've also started to take Triphala, which is healing and toning for the entire gut, and is also a motility stimulator. I've long needed a lot of magnesium in my life, so use Calm at night, which helps with anxiety, sleep and constipation, so it's a real winner.
I'm using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which eliminates foods that get digested too far down in the small intestine, and thus ferment and feed the bacteria. Since I'm used to the low carb, no sugar candida diet, and perfectly happy to eat good protein and veggies, this is not as challenging for me as it might be for others. Still, I've been surprised to find that I don't miss grains at all. All cravings for them have disappeared (it's the bacteria doing the craving, after all!) and I don't miss them. I've lost weight, which I'm happy about, since the weight from grains is just bloat and inflammation. There are several great websites to help with this diet.
I've done acupuncture for many years, and especially recommend the NAET protocol, which finds and helps to eliminate food sensitivities and other allergies that affect our guts. I can't recommend that strongly enough. If you're into alternative healing, it won't be news. If you're not, it may see like voodoo at first, but bear with it! If you are in southern NY, let me know and I'll recommend someone. Otherwise you can find someone close here: http://www.naet.com/Patients/locator.aspx
I've also gone to chiropractors all my adult life, and was surprised to find, when I went the last time and specifically asked for adjustments I'd found recommended on the web, that they made a huge difference in my comfort. Mine were cranial and upper cervical and thoracic region of the spine.
I know there are people here who are so worn out they can hardly walk, but I do find that exercise is key to having a functioning bowel. For me it's the key to a functioning life! I walk and do yoga. Stress is a very crucial component of my digestive problems, and both walking and yoga are great stress reducers. So is slow breathing, deep into the lower gut. Still working on that!
And always working on drinking enough water, slowly enough throughout the day to not overwhelm my stomach, and not with meals. These days I add a combination of ginger and chamomile teas to my water, since both are so soothing for digestion.
I'm still working on all of it. I have all sorts of jars and containers around, to see what works and what I can let go of, and a list of websites that grows every day. I am definitely not suffering the way some people here are suffering, and my heart is wrung by so many of the stories I read here. I would love to think that I can help the way I've been helped.