Congratulations! We are almost done with the gut healing protocol. What’s left is to find a long-term diet and treatment plan that’s 1) not too costly or inconvenient while at the same time 2) minimizes the risk of relapse.
The unfortunate reality is that if you go back to indiscriminately eating carbohydrates that ferment in the small intestine, SIBO, and other gut problems are very likely to come back.
The steps we took in the previous phase do help to restart your GI track, but they aren’t guaranteed to make you immune to the problem. For example, the prokinetic supplements help to restore impaired gut motility, but there are no guarantees that motility problems wouldn’t creep back after you stop taking the prokinetics. Dr. Siebecker recommends continuing prokinetics even after three months.
So it’s our job to find a good long-term balance. In this brief section, we’ll try to do just that.
Monitor your gut and bowel movements
You may be sensitive to different foods than I am, so ideal long-term diet varies from person to person.
Despite us having almost finished the gut healing protocol, you should still keep an eye on gut symptoms and bowel movements. Use the same techniques we discussed in the how to know if you have gut issues page.
You should notice far fewer symptoms now that you’ve completed most of the protocol. In this state of ‘gut calmness,’ it’s much easier to notice the foods that trigger gut problems.
I do recommend keeping some form of a symptom and food journal. It’s probably not necessary anymore to write down everything you eat but make a note anytime you notice gut problems and then note down what you ate at the previous 2 meals.
Most of the time your stools should be 3 or 4 on the Bristol stool chart. If you notice constipation, loose stools, or difficulties during a bowel movement, note down what you ate during the last 24 to 36 hours.
Finally, you may notice little to no symptoms initially. That’s because we’ve wiped out the excess bugs from your small intestine. Even eating rapidly fermentable carbohydrates may cause no symptoms since there aren’t enough bacteria in the small intestine to ferment them. More than likely the bacteria try to migrate up the digestive track again, and it may take a month or two until you start noticing subtle symptoms.
So don’t give up monitoring your gut just because you haven’t noticed anything during the first few weeks.