SIBO - Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
Tummy trouble? Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) may be the problem.
Common signs and symptoms of SIBO :
• Tummy trouble
• Food intolerance
• Flatulence / Wind
• Abdominal Distention Post-meal bloating
• Diarrhoea / constipation
• Abdominal pain / abdominal cramping, worse after meals
• Weight loss
• Nutritional malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition
• Steatorrhea – floating fatty stools
• B12 deficiency
SIBO is often part of the picture in other health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
SIBO occurs when there is an undesirable number of colon bacteria in the small intestine, which causes all manner of problems. It can typically happen after gastro, especially where the person never seems to recover properly, even after years the episode.
The small intestine has different varieties and numbers than the types of bacteria normally within the colon. Ordinarily bacteria are moved out of the small intestine into the large intestine in a one-way direction via peristalsis. The ileocecal valve which sits between the small intestine and colon, is meant to prevent refluxing of bacteria back into the small intestine. Unfortunately, disruptions in intestinal motility or other issues can cause disturbances in this protective mechanism, so the colon bacteria can backflow and accumulate in the small intestine, upsetting digestion and causing varying degrees of gut symptoms.
The flow on effect of this over time can impact systemic health. Flora overgrowth can also lead to a break down of bile acids, necessary for absorption of fats, causing further issues with impaired absorption of fats, impacting fat soluble vitamins such as A, D. E, K and Omega 3, 6, 9.
In severe or prolonged cases, bacteria may cause damage the lining of the small intestine, damagin the villi and impairing carbohydrate and protein absorption. Over time this can result in malnutrition. nutritional deficiencies, and conditions such as anaemia. B12 and serotonin are also synthesised in the gut, so bacterial disruption and inflammation can lead to problems downstream here also. It is not uncommon for anxiety to be triggered as a result of serotonin disruption, and inflammation irritating the neural tissue in the gut.
People with SIBO typically develop symptoms including nausea, bloating, and diarrhoea. They have trouble with common foods and can suffer greatly eating out or eating outside of a small range of foods that don't trigger bloating.
SIBO is usually treated medically with antibiotics, if it is ever diagnose, but this can give rise to antibiotic resistance, and can impact the colon bacterial balance, causing further issues as a result.
Naturopathic approaches resources Nature's bounty of herbs and nutritionals are effective at resolving this condition. The 'Gut Restoration Program' we use is 12 weeks long. Once completed foods can be reviewed as improved tolerance is brought about by restored microbial balance and repaired function.
(*Metagenics technical information.)
Functional Pathology Testing
SIBO breath test - hydrogen and methane breath test (2025)
This simple, non-invasive test detects bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, a common condition that often underlies chronic symptoms of maldigestion and malabsorption, including bloating, gas, diarrhoea, irregularity, and abdominal pain.
Bacterial concentrations in the small intestine are normally kept to a minimum. When excessive, the delicate mucosal lining is disrupted, including the microvilli that facilitate absorption. As a result, bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (BOSI) can inhibit nutrient absorption and lead to the following serious health problems.
Once bacterial overgrowth has been detected, intervention strategies can be used to treat the condition. Successful eradication of BOSI has been shown to reduce bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain in patients more effectively than many other treatments for IBS.
Bacterial overgrowth may manifest silently, without overt clinical signs. Patients without clear symptoms of gastrointestinal distress may benefit from testing, especially those with a history of chronic constipation, hypochlorhydria (including use of acid-blocking drugs), or maldigestion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Unexplained abdominal symptoms
Gas and bloating
The inability to tolerate sweet or starchy foods, fibre, or friendly flora supplements
Anolytes : Hydrogen & Methane
Personalised Health Care
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