If you have started a SIBO treatment using either conventional antibiotics or herbal ones, you may be convinced that you’re on the road to fixing your gut, which is a normal expectation.
However, you’d be surprised just how many people start dealing with the symptoms again after trying out these treatments, the problems even intensifying in many cases!
With that being said, it’s possible that you’re here after experiencing increased fatigue, fever and worsening diarrhea and bloating and that you are worried you are in the midst of a so-called SIBO die-off reaction.
But is all of this part of the process?
Are you really on the right track to healing your gut?
And what exactly is “die off?”
Here you can find the answers to all of your questions so you can do this right and thrive during and after treatment!
Read on to learn more about die-off and how you can survive it and thrive.
So what is this pesky “die-off” reaction you may be dealing with when treating SIBO?
Die-off is also known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction and is a syndrome resulting from aggressing treatments for an infection.
That’s not to say the treatment is not good for you – it is simply really aggressive, which also means it’s generally really effective.
Traditionally, this syndrome is associated with penicillin when treating syphilis but it can also happen just as well to people treating any type of overgrowth of microorganisms, whether it’s of a bacterial or fungal nature.
The reason why it occurs is that the treatment suddenly kills the many organisms causing harm within your body.
This process overwhelms the body due to the great number of proteins and toxins released, leading to excess inflammation.
Unfortunately, the die-off response is really similar to SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome) which is the body’s natural reaction to serious infections.
The main difference, however, is that die-off is more predictable and short-lived, lasting for less than a week.
What Triggers it?
As mentioned before, the main trigger is any treatment of SIBO or dysbiosis that is really strong and efficient in killing overgrown bacteria, fungi or parasites quickly.
The process is so quick that the body’s elimination organs, such as the kidney and liver, cannot quite keep up with the removal, leading to inflammation.
At the same time, some people experience it when taking probiotics or following an effective SIBO diet as well, not just when taking strong antibiotics.
Other such triggers are antiparasitics and herbal antifungals since all of them, whenever effective, do the same thing to the body.
Since it’s generally inflammation that people experience during this time, the most common symptoms are flu-like.
Furthermore, it is possible for your SIBO symptoms to become worse as well.
More precisely, die-off’s symptoms include:
– chills and fevers,
– skin rashes,
– muscle aches,
– brain fog.
As for the worsening SIBO symptoms, they may manifest as:
– abdominal pain,
– diarrhea, and more!
But How Can You Be Sure What You Are Experiencing Is Really Die-off?
As you can imagine, it can be quite hard to tell if your symptoms are a result of effective treatment administering or if you’re experiencing a flare of your symptoms, a new infection, or something else entirely!
Because of this, it’s imperative that you pay attention to all changes you make to your SIBO/IBS regimen.
Keep record of all changes and how you feel whether you start a new antifungal, supplement or change your diet.
This way you’ll be able to correctly identify any changes and the timing they occur and be able to tell whether they happen because of die-off or not.
Here are a few different scenarios where it’s most likely NOT die-off:
- Die-off Happens Months After You Start a New Regimen
Normally, it should occur within a week of treatment or starting a new diet. Therefore, if you experience the symptoms a month or more after, it’s very unlikely they are die-off symptoms.
Instead, it may mean that you have chosen the wrong probiotics or that the antimicrobials are not working for you.
- Die-off Lasts for Multiple Weeks or Even Months
Once again, if the symptoms don’t go away within a week, it’s unlikely they are a result of die-off.
In this case, it’s possible you have not been receiving the right treatment or you are continuing to take in an inflammatory supplement or food.
- Die-off is recurring
If the symptoms return again and again, what you’re experiencing is most likely not die-off!
What’s more likely the case is that you have not treated the overgrowth correctly or that you have recurring infections.
How Can You Lessen Die-Off Symptoms?
Yes, they are a sign the treatment is working but they’re still terrible symptoms to experience, right?
So how can you increase the intensity of die-off?
Well, the good news is that there are some things you can do to minimize the symptoms including:
Make sure to take in fluids every hour. Mineral or alkaline water are sometime even more beneficial than regular water, depending on the person. Furthermore, drink room temperature or even warm water as it’s known to aid digestion and lessen inflammation.
Restorative sleep is known to decrease the body’s ability to make cytokines so make sure you get at least those 8 hours of sleep at night.
Eat antioxidant-packed foods.
Antioxidants are known to combat inflammation so antioxidant-rich foods or even supplements are really good for you while experiencing die-off.
All in all, do not get alarmed if your symptoms fall in line with all the specifications in this article.
While it’s easy to panic and be confused as to why we’re getting worse during those first few days after starting treatment, rest assured that you’re most likely on the road to healing.
Just be mindful of all the changes and their timing so you can identify if it’s not die-off you’re experiencing and contact a medical expert if that is the case.