Digestive Health - Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth is just what it sounds like… an Overgrowth of Bacteria in the Small Intestine. SIBO is a type of “dysbiosis,” defined as a harmful change in the population of bacteria in the gut that leads to illness, in this case an overgrowth of gas producing bacteria.

Generally, symptoms of SIBO (and IBS) include bloating and gas. This is a result of an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine leading to an accumulation of gases – hydrogen gas, methane gas, and/or hydrogen sulfide gas. These gases build up in the gut and push outward leading to uncomfortable bloating and eventually a release of gas. Furthermore, the accumulation of these gases leads to the deterioration in digestive function as a whole, which may trigger symptoms such as constipation, heartburn, or others.

What causes SIBO?

SIBO can be a result of many different causes. At the heart of the development of SIBO is the dysfunction of the Migrating Motor Complex, a sequence of muscle contractions whose purpose is to keep things (food, bacteria etc.) moving in one direction. The dysfunction can come from causes such as:
• Chronic stress
• Food sensitivities
• Constant snacking or eating
• Gut dysbiosis
• Past antibiotic use
• Thyroid dysfunction or hormone imbalances
• Inflammation
How is SIBO tested?

The gold standard for testing SIBO is using a breath test to detect the potential presence of different gases – which signify the presence of those bacteria. The test results can also give you the sense of the amount and severity of the SIBO.
How is SIBO treated?

Based on the results of the SIBO test, your Naturopathic Doctor can devise a specific plan to eradicate the bacteria, abolish aggravating symptoms, and set your digestive tract back on track. There are generally 5 phases the treatment plan will address:

1. Supporting elimination and detoxification
2. Eradicating bacteria
3. Restoring the migrating motor complex
4. Repairing the gut
5. Ongoing maintenance
The treatment plan may also include supportive measures such as dietary recommendations, lifestyle supports, botanical medicines, acupuncture, and intravenous nutrient therapy.