Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
In this PDF, with over 100 references included, Alex outlines the causes, symptoms, and consequences of Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), as well as testing options and an overview of some of the more common treatment strategies that may be beneficial.
SIBO is defined as the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. Under normal conditions, the small intestine shelters far fewer and different types of bacteria compared with the colon. While our gut bacteria confer many healthful benefits, including vitamin synthesis, enhanced digestion, and improved immune function, an overgrowth of bacteria is increasingly being recognised as contributing to both gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms.
SIBO is viewed as one of the most common causes or irritable bowel syndrome, which effects up to 20% of the UK population (Canavan et al., 2014)! But it is also found, at high prevalence, in numerous chronic diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes and fibromyalgia.
It’s important to appreciate that SIBO and its symptoms exist on a spectrum of severity, from mild to severe. Typical clinical symptoms of SIBO include: abdominal pain and bloating, chest pain, nausea, regurgitation, vomiting, persistent belching and flatulence, steatorrhea (the excretion of abnormal quantities of fat with the faeces), absorption disorders and weight loss, GERD, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, as well as broadly defined dyspeptic symptoms (indigestion) (Rezaie et al., 2016). Food sensitivities are also very common.
SIBO is also a very frequent cause of chronic diarrhoea and constipation.
Please note this document does not recommend specific supplements and is for educational purposes only. Based on SIBO often being a symptom in it’s own right, a detailed history and possibly further testing is required to understand your current state of health. It is recommended that you make an appointment with an experienced clinician if you are experiencing symptoms.