Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

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What is SIBO?

SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.  Normally the small intestine is a sterile environment, with cleansing waves of intestinal muscular contraction flushing bacteria through the ileo-cecal valve and into the large intestine (colon).  Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth occurs when bacteria overgrows in areas of the small intestine where it should not be present, which can lead to many different symptoms and associated conditions.


How common is SIBO?

SIBO is extremely common!  Recent studies have shown that the majority of patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have SIBO present.  And it has been estimated that 1 in 5 visits to a GP are for chronic digestive symptoms typical of IBS.


How is SIBO Identified?

Once suspected by your naturopathic doctor, SIBO is confirmed through the Lactulose Breath Test which measures hydrogen and methane gases in the breath that are produced by bacteria in the small intestine.  This test is also used to monitor the success of each round of SIBO treatment.


How is SIBO Treated?

Once SIBO is confirmed through Lactulose Breath Testing it is treated with either herbal or prescription antibiotics.  Other treatments are often added including intestinal motility stimulants, probiotics, digestive support, and intestinal healing supplements.


Who can be evaluated for SIBO?

Anyone who has been diagnosed with IBS or who has chronic digestive symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, gas, burping, cramping, or bloating may have SIBO and can be evaluated. There are also various factors that make SIBO more likely including celiac disease, impaired intestinal motility, a history of acute intestinal infections, food poisoning or traveller’s diarrhea, opiate drug use, and a high sugar/starch diet. If you are interested in being evaluated for SIBO, please schedule an initial consultation with one of our naturopathic physicians at either our Vancouver or Victoria clinic today!