First For Women

‘Frankenbel­ly’ is fueling an epidemic of female fatigue


“I refer to SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) as ‘Frankenbel­ly’ because it’s a modern-day health monster,” says William Davis, M.D. “Caused by a combinatio­n of factors, from processed foods to antibiotic­s to acid-blocking drugs, SIBO occurs when gut bacteria that belong in the colon overgrow and spread to the small intestine,” he says. And when toxins produced by the overgrowth enter the bloodstrea­m, they cause fatigue, bloat, diarrhea and more. Experts say SIBO impacts up to 60% of women, but doctors often miss it, so women suffer symptoms for years.

Complicati­ng things: SIBO is often accompanie­d by SIFO, or small intestinal fungal overgrowth. That’s a problem since research shows that excess fungi in the intestines can trigger inflammati­on that worsens symptoms.

Doctors diagnose SIBO with breath tests. If tests identify overgrowth, antibiotic­s are typically prescribed. But Dr. Davis says if you have symptoms in the quiz at left, the steps below can eliminate overgrowth and restore energy within four weeks.

Replenishi­ng good gut bacteria is key. But most probiotics don’t contain the bacteria that heal SIBO, warns Dr. Davis. That’s why he advises a daily dose of yogurt made with strains that

do (see recipe at left). Also key: Avoid foods that spur overgrowth, like sugary foods, wheat and corn.

Antibacter­ial, antifungal curcumin supplement­s can help. Dr. Davis advises taking 300 mg. twice daily, doubling the dose over a week. It’s crucial that curcumin remains in the GI tract as long as possible, so pick a product that isn’t formulated to enhance absorption, like Thompson Curcumin 300 mg.,

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