Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when bacteria from the large intestine accumulate in the small intestine. We are meant to have bacteria in the large intestine, and even require these “bugs” to make certain vitamins and keep bowel movements regular. But, when the bacteria move up into the small intestine, they gain access to your food before you’re done with it, causing bloating and gas, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, or acid reflux. On the whole, SIBO can wreak havoc on your digestion!
It is estimated that 70-80% of those suffering from IBS also suffer from SIBO.
Many conditions are associated with SIBO: inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, IBS, rosacea.
SIBO can be diagnosed through a non-invasive breath test, completed in the comfort of your home. Several breath samples are given after ingesting a lactulose solution. The breath samples are then tested in the laboratory, providing information about which gases your microbiome (resident bacteria) are producing at different points in your digestive tract. Proper interpretation of the test allows accurate SIBO diagnosis and guides targeted and individualized treatment specific to the prominent type of bacteria present if you are positive for SIBO.
Some clues that you may have SIBO include (but are not limited to):
IBS-like symptoms (constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between the two)
A variety of food sensitivities without clearly identifiable food triggers
Improvement with antibiotics
Worsening with probiotics and fibre-rich foods/supplements
A history of significant travel illness (eg. traveller’s diarrhea) or repeated antibiotic use