Before we dive in, here's an anatomy check on what's inside the abdomen. After the stomach - where food is churned - food enters the small intestine. The small intestine absorbs most nutrients from our food. Normally, the small intestine has some bacteria, but not very much. Next, food enters the large intestine AKA the colon, where lots of healthy bacteria live and a few other nutrients are absorbed. Lastly, food enters the rectum and is excreted as stool.
SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is when there is too much bacteria in the small intestine. Bacterial overgrowth can cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea, nausea, and heartburn. SIBO is a common cause of IBS, and they often present with the same symptoms. SIBO can also cause symptoms outside of the GI tract, such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, depression, anxiety, and skin disorders.
SIBO can occur from a variety of causes. It's important to access medical history, past medication use, digestive function, and each person's anatomy to find what may cause SIBO and more importantly how to prevent it from coming back.
SIBO is diagnosed with a breath test, called a lactulose breath test. Lactulose is a sugar that humans can't digest, but bacteria can. When bacteria eat this sugar, they produce gas, either methane or hydrogen. The breath test measures these gases and helps diagnose bacteria in the small intestine.
For more information about diagnosing and treating SIBO, talk to your doctor or make a consultation appointment at QC Natural Health.