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Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, commonly known as SIBO, is a condition that occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine. While the small intestine is naturally home to a certain amount of bacteria, an overgrowth can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.
What is SIBO?
SIBO occurs when bacteria that normally reside in the colon migrate to the small intestine. The small intestine's primary role is nutrient absorption, and when bacterial overgrowth interferes with this process, it can result in various digestive issues and systemic symptoms.
Symptoms of SIBO
Individuals with SIBO often experience bloating, gas, and general discomfort in the abdominal region.
Changes in bowel habits
SIBO can cause diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both.
Due to impaired nutrient absorption, individuals with SIBO may suffer from deficiencies in vitamins such as B12 and fat-soluble vitamins.
The condition can lead to fatigue and malaise due to nutrient malabsorption and the body's effort to combat bacterial overgrowth.
Joint pain and skin issues
Some individuals may experience joint pain or skin problems as a result of the inflammatory response triggered by SIBO.
Accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. Common diagnostic methods include breath tests, which measure the gasses produced by bacteria in the small intestine. Additionally, healthcare providers may conduct blood tests to assess nutrient levels and identify any deficiencies associated with SIBO.
Antibiotics are often prescribed to eliminate the overgrown bacteria. Rifaximin is a commonly used antibiotic with a specific focus on the gastrointestinal tract, minimizing systemic side effects.
While the overgrowth of bacteria is a problem in SIBO, introducing beneficial bacteria through probiotics can help restore a healthy balance in the gut. However, the choice of probiotics should be carefully considered based on individual needs.
Dietary modifications play a crucial role in managing SIBO. The Low FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) diet is often recommended, as it restricts certain carbohydrates that can contribute to bacterial overgrowth.
Addressing nutrient deficiencies is vital. Patients may need supplements to replenish levels of vitamins and minerals that may be compromised due to malabsorption.
SIBO is a challenging condition that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. Early detection and a comprehensive approach to treatment, including antibiotics, probiotics, dietary changes, and nutritional support, can help manage symptoms and promote gut health. If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of SIBO, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment.
Need help managing SIBO? Reach out to your Care Team to schedule an appointment.
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Kendall is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, with a B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She received her certificate of Nutritions Sicence from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University.
Chloe holds a bioengineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania. As a breast cancer survivor, her insights shape The Lanby's patient-centric approach. Leveraging her healthcare strategy background, Chloe pioneers concierge medicine, bridging gaps in primary care.
Tandice was recognized with the Health Law Award and named a Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholar at Columbia Law School. Tandice's editorial role is enriched by her insights into patient autonomy and gene modification legalities. Passionate about bioethics, she is committed to crafting patient-centric healthcare solutions.
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