5 Important Things You Need to Know About SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

1. What are the causes of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

Recent studies indicate that SIBO is not well understood yet and it is associated with a number of different digestive conditions. ​

SIBO can occur either when bacteria from one part of the digestive tract travel to the small intestine or when naturally occurring bacteria in the small intestine multiply too much.​

– The small bowel may have anatomic abnormalities​
– pH changes in the small bowel​
– Immune system disorders
– The muscular activity of the small intestine malfunctions, which means that food and bacteria aren’t completely removed from the organ

2. How Does a Person Develop this Condition?

If you recently had a surgery that affects the Gastrointestinal tract is a potential cause.

Chronic conditions or certain diseases such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, Scleroderma etc. can increase the risk of developing SIBO as well. ​

3. How do Doctors Diagnose this Condition?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll also do a physical examination, which may include palpating, or gently feeling, your abdomen. They may also order blood, fecal, or other tests.​

The most common test for diagnosing SIBO is a Breath Test. Excess bacteria in the small intestine can lead to the release of the gases hydrogen and methane, which can be identified through a breath test.​

Click below to learn more about the breath test procedure: (http://candor.health/hydrogen-breath-test/)​

If the breath test isn’t conclusive or SIBO treatments aren’t working, your doctor may need to sample the fluid from your small bowel to see what bacteria is growing there.

4. Treatment for SIBO

Doctors often recommend antibiotics to treatment for SIBO but it is only to minimize the bad bacterias in the small intestine. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), metronidazole (Flagyl) or rifaximin (Xifaxan) are the antibiotics prescribed to get the bacteria under control.

For severe conditions intravenous (IV) therapy is typically administered for your body to gain nutrition and fluids.​

Antibiotics may decrease the number of bacteria in the small intestine, but they will not address the underlying issue that caused the problem in the first place.

If your doctor determines that your SIBO is due to an underlying condition, you’ll also need to begin treatment for that condition as well.​

5. Potential Diet Changes to Cope up with SIBO

These are basic diet adjustments that may be beneficial to some people:

– Create a meal plan that is balanced and nutritious.​
– Eat in small amounts but more frequent.​
– Avoid gluten products, especially if you suspect you might have celiac disease.​
– Try a low FODMAP diet

A low FODMAP diet might be an effective tool at managing and decreasing SIBO symptoms because foods high in FODMAPs are highly fermentable and removing them helps relieve the discomfort in the small intestine.

*Consult your doctor before making any diet changes.*​

References:
1. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

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