First For Women
“I forgot I could feel this good!”
Elisabeth Dunham battled fatigue and GI woes for months before discovering the common culprit—and the remedy that restored her health!
How am I going to get through another day of this?” Elisabeth Dunham sighed, looking at her schedule. “I didn’t think I’d find enough energy to oversee homeschooling of two teens during the pandemic and then sit down to work. Honestly, I just wanted to nap,” she recalls. “On top of that, my gut ached and I was suffering from brain fog that made it hard to think.
Sick and tired
“I was in my 50s and in seemingly good health. From the outside, all looked good: I was running a homebased business and working as a freelance automotive writer, and my kids were healthy and doing well. But I worried there was a serious underlying illness. To make matters worse, I was gaining weight as the pandemic raged on, thanks to menopause and the stress of having kids at home learning remotely.
“For one, I wasn’t getting enough sleep. No matter when I went to bed, I woke up at 4 or 5 am with a pain in my gut and was wide-awake. I was a night owl, so that meant I was running on far too little sleep. But even when I did get 8 hours of sleep, the gut pain and digestive stress were jarring.
“Everything from taking a shower to getting dressed seemed like an enormous task. I took short walks and tried to do workouts on TV, but I didn’t always have it in me to exercise more strenuously. The number on the scale kept creeping up. Like everyone else during the pandemic, the quarantine meant being cut off from the world. But my fatigue made the feeling even worse.
“One day, I hit my breaking point. I had slept all night and still felt exhausted, brain-fogged and lacking in enthusiasm for life. I made an appointment and saw my doctor a week later. When my lab work came back, everything was in the normal range: There was nothing wrong with my gut and no signs of anything more serious.
“But because I wasn’t improving, I saw a naturopath and had my stool tested by a company that specializes in finding pathogens in the digestive tract. The first naturopath I’d seen after the tests came back told me I had gastritis and that I should eat a low FODMAP diet, which reduces fermentation in the gut. I tried it, but it didn’t seem to have much impact. When I continued to get worse, I showed my results to a second naturopath and she saw something the other physician had missed: Klebsiella oxytoca, a bacteria linked with a condition
called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and various gut issues. Knowing I didn’t want to take antibiotics due to overuse of them in my past, the naturopath said that certain strains of probiotics might help.
Hope at last
“I did my own research and found an interview with William Davis, M.D., author of Super Gut. He had discovered something called SIBO yogurt, made from three specific strains of probiotics that are shown to eliminate the bad bacteria associated with SIBO.
“I read an article on his website that outlined which brands carried the exact strains of probiotics I needed. He wasn’t associated with any of the brands he was suggesting, so I felt safe that there wasn’t a conflict of interest. I purchased the ingredients to make it and found videos on YouTube that showed how to make Dr. Davis’ SIBO yogurt.
“I felt reassured hearing Dr. Davis say most people with SIBO healed within a month eating 1⁄2 cup of the yogurt per day, so I made a vegan version of it using coconut cream instead of half-and-half. I blended it into smoothies and stirred it into lukewarm oatmeal to hide the taste. Within a few days, my gut was improving and I was sleeping better. Within a week, the pain was gone and I was able to sleep through the night.
“After a month, I decided to recheck my gut health, and the test showed no sign of the klebsiella infection. I was thrilled to have found an answer, and as a certified nutrition counselor with my own practice, excited to have a remedy that didn’t involve harsh medications that I could share with clients.
“Another exciting outcome: I was able to exercise again and shed a few pounds. I have my life back! I’m enjoying parenting my teens, exercising, seeing friends and writing and working as a nutrition consultant though my website, ElisabethDunhamHealth.com. I learned that we don’t have to just survive as we age. We can thrive!”