So, What is SIBO?
SIBO, pronounced “see-bow” (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), is a term used to describe an over population of bacteria in the small intestine. The symptoms are the same as IBS. The result is that the digestive process metabolises carbohydrates into either hydrogen or Methane gases, both of which human’s can not produce themselves .
High levels of Methane results in constipation constipation, as it can slow down the motility of the bowel. While Hydrogen producers suffer with diarrhoea where fats are not properly absorbed.
- Constipation (the production of methane)
- Diarrhoea (the production of hydrogen)
- Wavering between constipation & diarrhoea
- Abdominal Distention
- Brain fog
- Malnutrition may occur in children with SIBO
- Joint pain
- Diverticulitis (inflammation of the colon)
Most sufferers of SIBO have a difficult time holding on to their macro and micronutrients such as omega-3, vitamins A,E,D and K.5.
- Intestinal Lining damage
- Motility disorders
- Impaired immune system
How do I know I have it?
You will need to visit your gastroenterologist and tell them about your symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with IBS, celiac disease or crohn’s disease, it is highly likely you have the presence of SIBO.
Hydrogen and methane gases are dispelled through the lungs, so the doctor will ask you to take a breath test to measure the levels of each gas , before and after giving the patient specific amounts of lactose and glucose. This test can last between 2-3 hours and is completely painless.
The aim of the treatment is to starve the bacteria in order to kill it. This can be done by giving the patient a course of antibiotics such as Rifaximin in which 99.6%, can stay in the gut without begin absorbed into the bloodstream. However the reoccurrence rate can reach to 43.7% after 9 months if the patient has motility issues and particular medications.
After the prescribed treatment, you may have to see a dietician to work closely with you in order to prevent the recurrence of the bacteria growth, repairing the internal lining with an aim of optimal nutrition.
**Please note that I’m NOT a doctor and would always recommend you visit your doctor if you have serious cause for concern.