How SIBO Can Manifest on Your Skin
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO causes a lot of health problems, most of them related to the digestive system. Symptoms like excessive gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are commonplace–but what a lot of people may not know is that SIBO can also affect other areas of the body, specifically the skin.
The relationship between one’s skin health and the condition of their digestive system, especially in relation to SIBO, has been known for a while. In recent times, it has been reported that between 46% and 66% of rosacea patients have been noted to also have SIBO. Because your body reflects the state of your health, it makes sense that the effects of SIBO will also manifest on your skin.
What is SIBO?
There is no one underlying cause of SIBO. It can either be the unfortunate side effect of surgery or a result of another underlying condition. As the overgrowth of bacteria happens in the small intestine, it follows that most of its symptoms would be related to the digestive system. Some of these include loss of appetite, nausea, malnutrition, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, to name a few.
If you’ve experienced recurring symptoms of the digestive problems enumerated above, you might have to see your doctor for a full evaluation. When unattended, SIBO symptoms can worsen and interfere with your day-to-day activities. Getting a diagnosis for SIBO can help you get a personalized treatment plan to keep your symptoms at bay.
SIBO and the Skin
If you have SIBO, you have an abundance of bad bacteria in your gut. When this happens, potential toxins may be absorbed due to the increased permeability of the gut lining. The small intestine can be affected by toxic metabolites produced during the digestion of nutrients by bacterial strains that are not normally found in the area. As a result, a diagnosis of SIBO has been linked to higher levels of intestinal permeability. As toxins are absorbed, the body’s immune system activates, which leads to a potential spread of inflammation–the underlying symptom of most skin conditions.
Some of the most common skin problems related to SIBO include rosacea, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis herpetiformis.
Skin Manifestations of SIBO
Inflammation is a common feature of rosacea, which can be triggered by various factors such as genetics, immune response, and environmental factors. The condition typically manifests as recurrent episodes of skin inflammation, primarily affecting the face. An imbalanced gut microbiome can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body. Although the relationship between gut health and rosacea is still being studied, some patients have reported a decrease in rosacea flare-ups when treating gastrointestinal conditions such as SIBO at the same time.
Like rosacea, SIBO also triggers acne flare-ups. Aside from experiencing chronic inflammation, having acne is also linked to the malabsorption that happens when you have SIBO. Missing out on crucial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, chromium, zinc, and folic acid influences the gut-skin axis, resulting in imbalances that upset the skin.
Eczema is a common skin condition that affects more than 20% of the population. Although there are currently no published studies linking eczema to SIBO, several studies have shown a relationship between eczema symptoms and alterations in the gut microflora. Research has revealed that abnormal intestinal microflora heightens the risk of developing eczema, while improvements in intestinal microdiversity can significantly reduce eczema.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease characterized by chronic autoimmune inflammation. Recent studies have shown that the condition of the gut microbiome directly impacts skin conditions like psoriasis. Bacterial translocation in psoriasis is not triggered by a single microbial group. Instead, it is likely caused by an imbalance among various microbial groups in the gut, which can affect organic acid compounds and other molecules, leading to a state of inflammation that contributes to bacterial translocation and other related events.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a long-lasting and intensely pruritic skin condition that causes blistering and is associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, also referred to as celiac disease. DH is a type of rash that impacts approximately 10 percent of individuals with celiac disease.
Treatment of SIBO and Skin Conditions
It is essential to identify the underlying cause of SIBO for effective treatment. Addressing the root cause of SIBO lets you manage the symptoms and avoid triggers that lead to flare-ups. Traditionally, SIBO is treated with antibiotics like rifaximin. However, not everyone reacts positively to the medication–and they’re not advisable for long-term treatment.
Luckily for you, there are natural SIBO treatments you can try. Natural remedies provide lasting benefits in managing SIBO symptoms. You can try incorporating diet modifications, herbal therapies, probiotics, and stress management techniques as some of the natural treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
To manage the SIBO symptoms manifesting on your skin, you can try going on a SIBO-friendly diet. For instance, going on a low-FODMAP diet removes certain carbohydrate groups from your diet that could trigger your SIBO symptoms.
Managing SIBO for Skin Improvement
SIBO symptoms manifest differently from one person to another, so it follows that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to them. If you want to manage your SIBO symptoms and clear your skin, you should start addressing the root cause of your SIBO and avoid your triggers. You can try applying tropical creams on your inflamed skin, although they can only do so much if the root cause is gut microbiome imbalance.
If you want a long-term solution to your skin problems, eating a SIBO-friendly diet is much more effective in keeping digestive symptoms at bay. This diet allows you to promote positive gut health by consuming foods that are less likely to cause bacterial overgrowth. For a more personalized SIBO treatment plan, you should consult your primary care doctor.