Monday, October 5, 2009

Will Rifaximin Help Mom?

On Saturday Mom started on the antibiotic Rifaximin as a treatment for small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

We are making something of a guess that she has SIBO. We have a few clues that point that way: the urine test which showed waste byproducts of clostridium and other “bad” bacteria; the stool test which showed no bad bacteria in the large intestine, and the presence of unusual amounts of gas, which is a bacterial byproduct. She also got results back on a very comprehensive food allergy test last week which shows that she is only allergic to surprisingly few foods (dairy, peanuts, broccoli, and a few others). She hasn’t been eating any of those things anyways.

Since she’s given the herbal antibacterials a couple weeks to work already (without much results), and since she is getting so weak, she has decided to try a high dosage 7-day round of Rifaximin. If you are really interested in medicine, you can click here and then click the "full text" link to read a study describing its use in treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

There is still the possibility that her intestinal problems are neurological rather than bacterial. We know she has some kind of spinal compressions going on in her spine – her spine has curved noticeably in the last few months. It could be that this spinal deterioration is resulting in intermittent signals making it to or from the intestines. This could cause lack of movement (peristalsis) of the intestines. This, in turn, could have allowed the right conditions for the bacterial overgrowth. If so, there is essentially nothing that can be done, and this round of antibiotics will provide only temporary relief, if any.

However, it certainly seems to be worth a try. This drug reportedly has few side effects and is quite effective at knocking out a broad range of bad bugs. So far, it is too soon to know but we should know within a few more days. Thanks for your prayers.

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