What is SIBO?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO is the abnormal overgrowth of bacteria in the Small Intestine. These bacteria ferment the food you eat, produce Hydrogen and Methane gases that lead to the many symptoms typically found in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In fact it is estimated SIBO causes about 60 - 70 % of IBS cases (1)
HOW IS SIBO DIAGNOSED?
SIBO is diagnosed by a Lactulose Breath Test. Hydrogen and Methane gas are produced by bacteria and measured on a breath test. The North American Consesus defines an increase in Hydrogen greater than 20 ppm from baseline within 90 min as positive and an increase in Methane greater than 10 ppm at any time as a positive SIBO test.
A positive Hydrogen breath test is more strongly correlated to IBS-D (loose stools). The overgrowth of Methane producing bacteria ( also referred to as Intestinal Methanogen Overgrowth) is more correlated to IBS-C constipation type. Methane CH4 has been shown to directly slow down intestinal transit time and cause constipation (2)
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SIBO?
The overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine may produce many different symptoms. These commonly include (1)
Types of SIBO?
There are 4 main types of SIBO:
CLUES YOU MAY HAVE IT
If you notice you experience some of these symptoms, they could be clues you may actually have SIBO. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, discuss testing for SIBO with your health care practitioner.
It is diagnosed by a breath test. However, if you notice your symptoms get worse with pre or probiotics, worse with fiber, you feel better when you take antibiotics for another condition and sugar alcohols make you feel worse ( xylitol, erythritol etc ) you may actually have SIBO.
WHAT CAUSES SIBO?
There are many different reasons that may increase the risk of developing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The most common reason to develop Hydrogen dominant SIBO is having a history of food poisoning. Bacteria that have been associated with the development of SIBO include Campylobacter, E coli, Salmonella and Shigella.
Other reasons that may increase both Hydrogen and Methane SIBO include medical conditions that impair motility such as hypothyroidism, Traumatic brain injury, diabetes and chronic infections. Chronic stress, difficulties with bile flow, low digestive enzymes and low stomach acid levels may also increase the risk of developing the condition. Endometriosis and abdominal surgery may also affect intestinal flow and increase the risk.
OTHER CONDITIONS THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED
Bacterial overgrowth in the Small Intestine and the inflammation that accompanies SIBO may lead to the malabsorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Iron deficiency or difficulties absorbing iron may result from having SIBO. These bacteria may also affect bile flow and lead to a deficiency in fat soluble vitamins including Vitamins A, D, E and K. This may result in symptoms such as dry skin, brain fog, getting colds and flus frequently, hair thinning, mouth ulcers, easy bruising, anxiety, depression and fatigue.
Medical Conditions that may be associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth include:
TREATMENT OF SIBO
At Vitalia Health Care INC in Vancouver, we take a comprehensive approach when treating SIBO. This may include:
TREATING LOWER COLON BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH
The bacteria found in SIBO are usually an overgrowth of bacteria that are normally found in the lower colon. If you are experiencing foul smelling gas, Hydrogen Sulfide producing bacteria may be to blame.
Hydrogen Sulfide gas may lead to more intense symptoms such as body pain, bladder irritation, tingling in the hands and feet, feeling unwell overall and worse food intolerances (you feel like you react to so many different foods).
Hydrogen Sulfide bacteria, Fungal overgrowth and Parasites can be tested with a PCR-DNA stool test
At Vitalia Health Care INC in Vancouver we take a comprehensive approach when treating digestive problems. Book an APPOINTMENT today with one of our Naturopathic Physicians. We are available for in-person, phone or video appointments.