Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): What You Should Know

Do you suffer from abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or food intolerance? Have you ever been diagnosed with IBS, but can’t find relief from treatment? SIBO is a condition that you might want to look into.  

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO,  occurs when normal bacteria from the colon are in high amount within the small intestine. This overgrowth can cause a variety of chronic symptoms.  

The effects of SIBO

One of the byproducts of food fermentation is gas, which typically comes in the forms of hydrogen, methane and hydrogen sulfate. These gases destroy cells that line the small intestine, which often leads to bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation and fragments of foods or toxins leaking into the blood.  

Once the toxins move into the blood, they can be carried to all parts of the body and cause other symptomssuch as heartburn, migraine, fatigue, mood swings, rashes and joint/muscular pain. Damaged cells can also impair digestion and cause malabsorption of nutrients.  

Common conditions associated with SIBO include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Acne and rosacea
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism

Diagnosing SIBO

You can diagnose SIBO by a breath test. Because there are different versions of the test, it is important that it be ordered by a trained professional in order to determine the best fit for you. Keep in mind that there are various interpretations amongst laboratories.  

Treating SIBO

Available treatment options include diet, antimicrobial herbs and antibiotics.  A combination of these different treatment options is ideal. Since SIBO has a high recurrence rate, treatment length ranges from 3 months to 6 months.  Remember to visit a trained professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Interested in learning more or want to book an appointment? Contact Dr. Sherry Su today!

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