What is SIBO?
According to Dr Alison Siebecker, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth is a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. The infection is of bacteria that normally live in the gastrointestinal tract but have abnormally overgrown in a location not meant for so many bacteria.
The main symptoms of SIBO are those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). SIBO has been shown to exist in up to 84% of IBS patients and is therefore theorized to be the underlying cause. It is associated with many other disorders as well, as an underlying cause or as an aftereffect of the pre-existing disease.
- Abdominal bloating (gas)
- Abdominal pain, cramps
- Constipation, Diarrhea, both
- Other symptoms
- Heartburn (Reflux or GERD)
- Leaky Gut Symptoms (I prefer to call this Leaky Small Intestine)
- Food Sensitivities
- Joint Pain
- Skin symptoms (such as eczema or rashes)
- Respiratory symptoms (such as asthma)
- Mood symptoms (such as depression)
- Brain symptoms (such as Autism)
- Malabsorption Symptoms
- Steatorrhea (fatty stools)
- Anemia (Iron or B12)
- Weight Loss
SIBO Testing: the breath test is a non-invasive procedure that can be done at home.
Hydrogen Breath Test
A hydrogen breath test can be used to diagnose several conditions: H pylori infection, carbohydrate malabsorption (ex. lactose) and SIBO.
How a SIBO Breath Test is performed
Breath testing measures the hydrogen (H) & methane (M) gas produced by bacteria in the SI that has diffused into the blood, then lungs, for expiration. H & M are gases produced by bacteria, not by humans. The gas is graphed over the SI transit time of 2 or 3 hours & compared to baseline. Patients drink a sugar solution of glucose or lactulose after a 1 or 2 day preparatory diet. The diet removes much of the food that would feed the bacteria, allowing for a clear reaction to the sugar drink.
Three types of tests may be used: Lactulose, Glucose or fructose