gutSmall Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Our practitioners are trained extensively in the testing and treatment of SIBO using both natural means (including diet and supplements) as well as a pharmaceutical approach.

What is SIBO? To put it simply – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine. These bacteria are normal in the gastrointestinal tract, however when the amount exceeds the normal balance in the small intestine it creates health issues. The bacteria can damage the lining of the small intestine and also interfere with proper digestion and absorption of foods. SIBO has also been studied as a possible underlying cause of IBS. Recent studies show between 50-75% of people with diagnosed IBS also have SIBO and when treated, the IBS symptoms resolve.

Common SIBO symptoms include: Abdominal bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, heartburn (Reflux or GERD), nausea, food sensitivities, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, abdominal pain, vitamin deficiencies and more.

How to test for it: Testing for SIBO is done through a breath test – where patients give samples of their breath. This test measures the gases hydrogen and methane which are produced by the bacteria in the small intestine and diffused through the blood and then expired through the lungs. The gases are produced by the bacteria, not the patient. This test takes 2-3 hours and is done either at home or at a testing center. To prepare for the test, the patient does a 1-2 day preparatory diet and then consumes a solution of glucose or lactulose. The prep-diet ensures that the bacteria are reacting to the solution and not the foods. While the standards for testing for SIBO have yet to be solidified, this is the most effective method available currently, as the small intestine is hard to sample directly.