SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth
What is it? What causes it? How do you test it? How do you treat it?
What Is It?
SIBO is a digestive disturbance which can be treated effectively only if diagnosed. The signs and symptoms associated with SIBO are very similar to those associated with IBS. Many of the signs and symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Numerous food intolerances
- Abnormal stool contents
- Mucous in the stool
The small intestine and the large intestine vary considerably in terms of their function and their make-up. The small intestine typically has a small amount of bacteria, unlike the large intestine. Occasionally, the bacteria in the large intestine can migrate into the small intestine causing the symptoms listed above. Since many of the symptoms are consistent with IBS, testing for SIBO can assist physicians with an accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan.
What Causes It?
There are numerous reasons that could lead to this abnormal bacterial overgrowth. The list is long but is not limited to the following:
- Low stomach acid and digestive enzymes
- Gall bladder issues
- Decreased healthy immune system and probiotics
- Past history of food poisoning, parasites
- Past history of antibiotic use
- Auto-immune disease
- Low thyroid function
- Past history of opiate pain relief use
- Immune deficiency syndromes
- Surgery/nerve damange, adhesions and scarring to the intestine
- History of use/treatment of proton pump inhibitors (stomach acid blockers)
How Do You Test It?
Testing should be completed via 2-3 of the following tests depending on your symptoms and your health history:
- SIBO Comprehensive Breath Testing
- Diagnostech’s Expanded GI Health Panel
- Other studies include barium swallow studies, endoscopy, x-ray and other imaging studies.
Your doctor will determine the best course of action needed and the necessary testing to be completed.
How Do You Treat It?
Numerous options are available for treatment and include options of pharmaceutical, herbal and nutrition/lifestyle treatments. The following are all options for treatment and management to prevent relapse:
- Antibiotic options
- Herbal antibiotic therapies
- Lifestyle management
- Nutrition protocols