SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. SIBO is a chronic bacterial infection of the small intestine, where bacteria that normally live in the GI tract have abnormally overgrown in this location.
SIBO is associated with many different symptoms. These include: IBS, abdominal bloating, belching, flatulence, abdominal pain, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, food sensitivities, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, rashes, mood disorders and malabsorption syndromes. In fact 84% of patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) have shown to be positive for SIBO. SIBO is also associated with a variety of different illnesses when digestive symptoms are also problematic.
For testing purposes, it is difficult to access the health of the small intestine. An endoscopy can only view the top portion of the small intestine, and a colonoscopy can only view the lower portion. There is 17 feet of small bowel that cannot be accessed except by surgery.
The SIBO test is a non-invasive breath test which measures hydrogen and methane gas produced by bacteria in the small intestine that has diffused into the blood, then lungs for expiration. Hydrogen and methane are gases produced by bacteria, not by humans. The gas is graphed over the small intestine transit time of 2 - 3 hours and compared to baseline. Patients drink a sugar solution of lactulose after a 1 - 2 day preparatory diet.
Once SIBO is confirmed through Lactulose Breath Testing it is treated with either herbal or prescription antibiotics and a dietary plan. Other treatments are often added including intestinal motility stimulants, probiotics, digestive support, and intestinal healing supplements.