In this article, I am going to go through everything you need to know about SIBO Testing.
SIBO is an acronym for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which is a bit of a mouthful which is why everyone calls it SIBO! SIBO is the main cause of IBS symptoms, with an estimated 80% of IBS symptoms caused by SIBO so for the many people suffering from IBS it is important to get tested for SIBO.
Trillions of bacteria inhabit the large intestine and they play an important role in the digestion process, they are meant to be there and if that bacterial balance is altered by antibiotics, poor diet, infections and stress it can affect many aspects of your health. So good levels of good bacteria in the large intestine is a good thing!
The small intestine however is quite different and plays a different role in the digestion process. The small intestine absorbs nutrients from food through tiny finger like protrusions called villi and on the surface of the villi are micro villi which further increases the surface area of the small intestine to aid in absorption of nutrients.
The small intestine should contain very little bacteria compared to the large intestine and SIBO occurs when this bacteria from the large intestine is able to move up into the small intestine. This same bacteria which is beneficial in the large intestine starts to cause a lot of IBS like symptoms when it moves into the small intestine.
This includes damaging the villi which affects your absorption of nutrients.
All the classic symptoms of IBS are the same symptoms of SIBO which includes constipation, diarrhea or alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating, cramping pain, reflux or burping and wind.
Other symptoms that you may not necessary associate with digestion problems include joint pain, skin conditions (strong association with acne rosacea), food sensitivities, asthma and nutrient deficiencies.
There are a number of causes of SIBO and the causes will be different for each person, and there may not be one cause but a combination of different factors that lead to SIBO.
Infections like gastroenteritis, often people can have a gastric infection and are quite sick for a few days, but once the initial infection clears they are left with these IBS symptoms, and even years later can trace their symptoms back to a time when they were sick on an overseas holiday or a particular time in their life.
Over consumption of simple carbohydrates, this can be foods like cereals, toast, sandwiches, muesli bars, biscuits, cakes, pasta and other simple processed foods. The funny thing about this list of foods is that they are common foods for many people to eat, and a number of them are considered healthy foods by the current government healthy eating guidelines.
Medications like proton pump inhibitors which are drugs used to lower stomach acid and include drugs like Pariet, Losec and Somac. Also opioid drugs used for pain can affect the motility of the small intestine making it easier for the bacteria to move into the small intestine, other dugs like blood pressure medications can also contribute to SIBO. I am not suggesting you stop your medications (if you address the cause you may not need them) but if you have some other risk factors this is going to increase your risk, and many of these drugs are just treating symptoms and not the cause of the problem.
Other causes include stress which can affect stomach acid and the motility of the small intestine.
Treatment of SIBO can take several months of diet changes, anti-bacterial herbs and other nutrients that help to eliminate the bacteria and improve the motility. Getting properly tested for SIBO is the first step in the treatment process as it helps to take out the guess work of treating SIBO and confirms that SIBO is the cause behind your digestion problems. Other causes of IBS like symptoms include parasite infections, dysbiosis or food intolerance’s these can cause SIBO like symptoms but the treatment protocol would be different, which is why SIBO testing is important.
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At Planet Naturopath I can organize SIBO testing in Australia, as well as SIBO testing in the U.S, Canada, U.K and Asia. The first step is to schedule a consultation so that I can help you decide if this is the best option for you, you can schedule your consultation on my online calendar here Planet Naturopath Calendar
If you have any other questions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Consultations are available throughout Australia, and many parts of the world via our video conferencing system or phone, and I specialize in digestion disorders, adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones. Many conditions relating to your digestion will also affect your hormones, while many conditions affecting your hormones will also impact on your digestion.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen