Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Gut (Part 5) - SIBO

Our gut is filled with bacteria. It needs bacteria to function its normal duties. Without them, we would be in deep trouble! But yet if you have an OVER abundance of them, it will lead to trouble too.


SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. This happens when the bacteria in the small intestines over populate.

It is a known fact that our colon is rich with bacteria. *The large bowel or colon has at least 1,000,000,000 organisms per milliliter. However the small intestines only have fewer than  ten to the power of four organisms per milliliter. Once the bacteria grows to ten to the power of five per milliliter, it would be an overgrowth.

*taken from HERE

Signs & Symptoms

It is very challenging to properly diagnose SIBO as the symptoms are also found in other conditions. Some of the symptoms of SIBO are nausea, excessive gas, bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, constipation OR diarrhoea (constipation less common), food intolerances, vitamins and mineral deficiency, fatigue and weakness.

*Causes of SIBO

1. Damage to nerves/muscles in the gut can cause a leftover of bacteria in the small intestines. This is seen in people with diabetes and scleroderma.

2. Scarring from surgeries or Crohn's disease.

3. Disorders of the immune system such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

4. Medication such as antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptive pills and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs).

5. A diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol.

*taken from HERE and HERE.

** SIBO can cause the leaky gut syndrome as the damaged cell linings of the small bowel allow large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream. This can cause immune reactions which lead to food allergies or sensitivities, generalized inflammation and autoimmune diseases. (**taken from HERE)

How to Diagnose SIBO

1. Breath Test

Individuals need to fast for 12 hours. They will then breathe into a small balloon and then consume an exact amount of sugar and repeat the breath test every 15 minutes for 3 or more hours.

2. Organix Dysbiosis Test

This tests the urine for the by-products of yeast or bacteria which are in the small intestine.

3. Comprehensive Stool Test

This tests your stool of the flora that inhibits your intestines. If the levels are elevated, SIBO is suspected.

Treatment for SIBO

Usually rifaximin (Xifaxan) an antibiotic is used as a standard treatment to treat SIBO. Xifafan is a perfect treatment for SIBO because it stays in the gut and is not absorbed throughout the whole body. Thus, it would not work for a throat infection.

Another treatment would be probiotics. The lactobacillus casei strain has been found to be effective in dealing with SIBO. Other strains such as lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus acidophilus have also been found to treat SIBO.

A restrictive diet (low or complete void of trigger foods) would also be a good way in alleviating the symptoms of SIBO.

Click on SIBO - what causes it and why its so hard to treat to understand more on SIBO.


  1. Yeah, I think that antibiotic is a bad idea, but if one can't get relief through diet , it might be the only option. We love to eat our antibiotics.