Causes and Symptoms of SIBO
Normally, far fewer bacteria inhabit the small intestine than the ample growth found in the colon. Several of the body’s defenses, including gastric acid secretion and intestinal motility, keep the small intestine relatively free of bacteria. However, a wide range of abnormalities and malfunctions can encourage bacteria to multiply in the small intestine causing SIBO which results in excessive fermentation, inflammation, and/or malabsorption.
Causes of SIBO
- Anatomical abnormalities (i.e. diverticula, fistulae, surgical blind loop, ileocecal resections)
- Motility disorders (i.e. scleroderma, diabetes mellitus, post-radiation enteropathy, small intestinal pseudo-obstruction)
- Multifactorial causes (i.e. acid suppression, hypochlorhydria, immunodeficiency, chronic pancreatitis)
Symptoms of SIBO
- Abdominal discomfort
- Diarrhea or steatorrhea with greasy or bulky stools
- Weight loss due to poor oral intake
- Joint Pains
- Neurological disturbances related to vitamin B12 malabsorption
Diagnosis and Treatment of SIBO
To diagnose SIBO, we use a simple, non-invasive breath test. The patient will drink a sugar solution, breathe into a breathalyzer, and based on the gases that are emitted in the patient’s breath, we can determine if bacteria are fermenting in the small intestine.
Once bacterial overgrowth has been detected, intervention strategies including identifying the underlying cause, dietary changes, and antibiotic therapy can be undertaken to successfully eradicate the SIBO and reduce symptoms associated with it.