SIBO Symposium Kick-Off in January for New Clinical Approaches to IBS Disorders
PORTLAND, Ore. (Nov. 4, 2013) — National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) today announced the opening of NCNM Clinic’s SIBO Center, believed to be the first natural medicine clinic in the U.S. with a center dedicated to the treatment of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and associated gastrointestinal disorders. IBS, one of the most common and hard-to-treat health conditions, is thought to affect more than 60 million Americans. A small but growing number of physicians are recognizing the significant link between IBS and SIBO.
A study published in 2000 in the Journal of Gastroenterology reported that 80 percent of those suffering with IBS symptoms of bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation were found to actually have SIBO, a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. Because SIBO is often unrecognized or misdiagnosed, the symptoms can worsen without treatment. Patient demand for help with SIBO has been largely unmet as standard Western medical treatment options often do not resolve the condition.
A New Clinical Approach to IBS
Professor Steven Sandberg-Lewis, ND, and SIBO Medical Director Allison Siebecker, ND, co-developers of NCNM’s new SIBO Center, have been collaborating with their medical counterparts on hard-to-treat gastrointestinal issues for several years. Their efforts have met with much success.
Sandberg-Lewis observed, “Medical doctors who unsuccessfully treated patients with IBS began referring them to us. Nutrition is one of the cornerstones of naturopathic medicine, so we work closely with our patients who test positive for small intestine bacterial overgrowth using various diets to maximize their nutrition without feeding the overgrowth of bacteria. After treating IBS patients with a combination of pharmaceutical or herbal antibiotics along with diet, we found that we were having very successful treatment outcomes, and the referrals began to increase,” he explained
The big shift for Sandberg-Lewis and Siebecker came when QuinTron Instrument Company, Inc., based in Milwaukee, Wisc., donated two BreathTracker machines to NCNM Clinic to test patients for SIBO. The BreathTrackers accurately measure the amount of trace-gases, such as hydrogen and methane, which are produced by bacteria in the small intestine. This overgrowth can interfere with the absorption of iron, vitamins and essential fats.
Successful Case Studies
Sandberg-Lewis has patients who have suffered severely from SIBO for more than 20 years. They were referred to him after enduring a battery of tests, including upper GI endoscopies, colonoscopies and abdominal CT scans, which came back negative, showing no cause for their acute pain and distress. Sandberg-Lewis said within months of SIBO treatment, including the restriction or elimination of certain foods from their diets, patients’ gastrointestinal distress ceases and many report much welcomed weight loss. “As health is restored, many of our patients tell us they feel like their lives are being returned to them,” Sandberg-Lewis said. “I feel privileged to be able to help patients this way.”
The decision to open a dedicated SIBO Center within NCNM Clinic came with the success both naturopathic doctors have had treating gastrointestinal conditions in their patients and in preventing relapses of the condition. He explained, “We realized that by treating SIBO, we were on the leading-edge of a new clinical approach to IBS and other SIBO-related health disorders, such as chronic iron deficiency anemia, rosacea, fibromyalgia and gastroesophageal reflux.”
Sandberg-Lewis noted, “Patient demand for standard medical or holistic help with these diseases is woefully unmet. Few practitioners understand the basic principles of SIBO or effective treatment for IBS. Patients need access to testing, pharmaceutical and herbal management, nutritional advice and experienced guidance by qualified healthcare practitioners.”
Sandberg-Lewis and Siebecker, now seen by colleagues in both Western medicine and naturopathic medicine as leaders in the emerging field of SIBO and IBS treatment, are eager for medical practitioners of all disciplines to join them and other leading SIBO medical experts as NCNM hosts the first annual SIBO Symposium to be held at NCNM on January 18-19, 2014.
In addition to Drs. Sandberg-Lewis and Siebecker, keynote speakers include Mark Pimentel, MD, FRCPC, director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program and Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and widely considered to be the foremost researcher of SIBO in the U.S; and Leonard B. Weinstock, MD, FACG, president of Specialists in Gastroenterology and Advanced Endoscopy Center in St. Louis, associate professor of clinical medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, and the author of more than 40 research papers that focus on associated diseases of SIBO.
Designed for the gastroenterologist, the alternative medicine practitioner as well as the public, this symposium will present a multifaceted treatment approach. Discussions will include specific testing, pharmaceutical and herbal antibiotics, and a prescribed diet that reduces the bacteria, allows the intestinal lining to repair, and reduces digestive and systemic symptoms associated with chronic health disorders. This approach has not only shown a high success rate in treating SIBO, but also in preventing relapses.
Founded in Portland in 1956, NCNM is the oldest naturopathic medical school in North America and an educational leader in classical Chinese medicine and CAM research. NCNM offers three accredited four-year graduate medical degree programs in naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine, as well as a Master of Science degree in Integrative Medicine Research and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition. Its community clinics provide low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area. In addition to the campus-based NCNM Clinic, NCNM practitioners attend to approximately 40,000 patient visits per year. Until July 2006, NCNM was known as the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. The name change reflects the diversity of the college’s programmatic degree offerings.