Abdominal pain and diarrhea? Bloated or excessive burping? You may have SIBO.

What is SIBO?sad

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition affecting the small intestine. SIBO is caused when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut start growing in the small intestine. It typically causes pain and diarrhea. Experts estimate that up to 80% of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferers may actually have SIBO. Some people with inflammatory bowel disease may also have SIBO. Here are some common symptoms of SIBO:

  • Bloating
  • Cramping and pain
  • Cramps after eating, indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Food sensitivities
  • Regular feeling of fullness
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Consuming grains, fibre, starches, legumes may make symptoms worse

Instead of allowing the villi and microvilli to absorb nutrients from the food in the small intestine, the bacteria digest it instead, causing it to ferment. Not only that, but SIBO can also lead to damage to the villi and microvilli. This can lead to malabsorption of a variety of nutrients, especially B12, folic acid, magnesium, iron and calcium. 

These gases cause a variety of symptoms such as bloating, wind, cramping, diarrhea, burping and constipation. Foods containing fermentable fibre, starch, lactose and fructose can make SIBO symptoms worse, as do gluten, grains, starches like potatoes, legumes and pulses, fruits and some vegetables. 

It is difficult to treat other digestive problems if SIBO is present, and the longer it remains in the small intestine, the more damage it can cause.
What causes SIBO?
SIBO may be caused or exacerbated by the following conditions:
  • Food poisoning
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Antibiotic use
  • Acid blockers
  • Fungus overgrowth
  • Surgical intervention and operations to the abdomen (e.g. appendectomy)
  • A dysfunctional ileocecal valve
  • Oral contraceptive (birth control) pill
  • Overconsumption of simple carbohydrates
  • Stress causing changes to the acidity levels in the stomach and motility of the small intestines
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Initial colonization of bad bacteria due to Caesarian birth and/or lack of breast feeding
How do I test for SIBO?
breath test is a common test for diagnosing SIBO. The test detects methane and/or hydrogen gas, which are byproducts of the bacteria’s digestion only produced by the bacteria and not our bodies. Dr. Yik at IMI clinic offers SIBO testing. 

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