If you suffer from chronic bloating, diarrhea, fatigue and you have not been able to find out what is going on, it may be due to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, also known as SIBO.
The small intestine often get overlooked when digestive symptoms arise. This 20 feet of intestines is responsible for digesting food, absorbing nutrients and also helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
The small intestine plays host to specific beneficial microorganisms that help protect our bodies against bad bacteria and yeast. These good bacteria also do their part to produce vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K and folate. They are the keepers of the small intestine, ensuring that it continues to do its thing, muscling waves of food through the gut.
What is SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO occurs when there are changes in the population and type of bacteria. Most often SIBO is caused by an overgrowth of the wrong types of bacteria. This bacterial overgrowth can damage the lining of the gut and lead to a number of problems, including general inflammation, immune reactions that cause food allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
These havoc-causing bad bacteria are also responsible for poor digestion, diarrhea and malabsorption. Patients with SIBO often suffer from nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron, vitamin B12, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as unintended weight loss, and even osteoporosis.
How do you know if you have SIBO?
SIBO is often underdiagnosed condition as many people do not seek medical care for their symptoms.
Common SIBO symptoms include:
- Bloating and abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Gas and belching
- Weakness and fatigue
In the most severe cases, patients can experience weight loss and vitamin deficiency-related symptoms.
Are you at risk for SIBO?
While the elderly may be the most vulnerable to developing SIBO as its prevalence rises with age, there are multiple other risk factors that can increase your chances, no matter how old you are.
- Antibiotic use
- Antacids and Low Stomach Acid
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Prior bowel surgery
- Diabetes Types I & II
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Studies also indicate that moderate alcohol consumption — that’s one drink a day for the ladies and two for men — not only promotes the overgrowth of certain types of bacteria, but it can also impair vital functions resulting in small bowel injury and decreased muscle contractions.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or think you might be at risk, then our experienced doctors can assess your symptoms and provide specialized testing. Diagnoses is with a breath test that measures your hydrogen and methane gas levels produced by the bacterial metabolism.
Book an appointment today and let us help you heal your gut.