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SOUTH DENVER GASTROENTEROLOGY, P.C.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

What is SIBO?

Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there are too many bacteria in the small intestine. It usually occurs when surgery, disease, structural issues in the small intestine or certain medical conditions cause food or waste to move slowly through the small intestine. This can cause bad bacteria to grow and flourish, causing an imbalance.

There are certain factors that may increase your risk of SIBO, including an injury to the small intestine, a structural defect in the small intestine, gastric surgery for ulcers or obesity, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, Lupus and diverticulosis of the small intestine.

Symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Bloating.
  • Excess gas.
  • Nausea.
  • Belly pain.
  • Feeling very full after eating.
  • A loss of appetite.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Fatigue.

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How is SIBO Diagnosed?

There are a number of tests that can be done to check for bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. These include breath testing, which measures the amount of hydrogen or methane that you breathe out after drinking a special mixture. Small intestine aspirate and fluid culture is another test that involves passing an endoscope down your throat and into the small intestine. An intestinal fluid sample will then be taken and tested for bacteria growth. In addition to these tests, your doctor may also have you undergo blood testing, X-rays, CT scans or MRI testing.

Treatment Options for SIBO

In order to eliminate SIBO, you need to get the bacteria in your gut back into balance. Treatment may include one, or a combination of, the following:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are usually used to get the bacteria overgrowth under control. However, if your SIBO is due to an underlying condition, you will need to begin treatment to address that condition for long-term SIBO relief.

Diet Changes

Many people with SIBO find relief from recurrent SIBO symptoms after following a special diet. Be sure to eat a balanced diet, as well as eat smaller meals more frequently which will prevent too much food from sitting in the stomach. Your doctor may also recommend that you temporarily try an elemental diet, which replaces food and drinks with liquid formulas for a specific amount of time. 

Probiotics

Probiotics may be able to help balance your gut flora to prevent SIBO.

Your South Denver GI Team

At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!


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