Studies have shown that over 50% of patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome actually have bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. These bacteria are normally present in the large intestine or colon. But when they migrate to the small intestine and start growing in large numbers, they start causing fermentation of food which leads to gas, bloating, abdominal pain and poor absorption of nutrients.
Some risk factors for bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine include a western diet high in refined sugars and starches, overuse of antibiotics, past food poisoning, prior intestinal surgeries, poor activity of migrating motor complex, which normally pushes bacteria into the large intestine, low stomach acid as may be caused by prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors, low pancreatic function and poor secretion of digestive enzymes which leads to maldigestion, fermentation of food and bacterial overgrowth and a floppy ileocecal valve.
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine has far-reaching effects, and we are now beginning to understand the connection between the digestive tract and the immune system, the nervous system, the mood and the expression of certain genes. SIBO has been linked to autoimmune conditions like Hashimotos thyroiditis, skin conditions like acne and rosacea, chronic neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease and seemingly unrelated conditions like fibromyalgia.
Although there are some at-home self-checks that you can perform such as being aware of your bowel habits or feelings of fullness after eating, SIBO can be difficult to diagnose and treat without outside medical guidance. This is because the symptoms of SIBO often overlap with other digestive issues and many people treat those issues – often in vain – without treating SIBO at all.
The bacteria in your gut produce gases that cause the negative symptoms already mentioned. But this same gas can be a good thing when it comes to diagnosing SIBO and other gastrointestinal disorders. When you undergo a breath test, your doctor will be able to identify not only what types of bacteria that are causing the distress, but the location of the bacteria, as well.
In addition to a breath test for SIBO, your health practitioner may suggest other testing such as an Organix acid Test or a Comprehensive Stool Test.
Treating SIBO is not always easy and may involve major dietary changes and medications or herbal treatments for prolonged periods of time. A diet low in FODMAP foods may be helpful. The treatment protocol for SIBO may vary depending on the type of bacteria and fungi found on testing. Although treatment is challenging, it may prove to be the most important step in regaining your health!
Contact My Pure MD if you have been suffering from any of the above-mentioned symptoms and are not getting relief from conventional methods of treatment.