Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there is an increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine — especially when it includes species of bacteria not commonly found in that part of the digestive tract.
Most of the bacteria in our guts is found in the large intestine, the colon. We don’t often have a lot in the small intestines (which are closer to the stomach and then empty into the colon). This is because of the stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and the flow of the food through the small intestine is normally too quick for the bacteria to attach to the intestinal walls.
How does SIBO happen?
There are a number of ways that SIBO may occur, but it is largely due to slower movement in the gut or low digestive function. The process of movement is called peristalsis and is initiated by hormones that we produce in response to eating. Here are some examples of what could contribute to SIBO and yours might be from more than one:
- Surgery on the stomach or abdomen
- Structural issues in the intestines
- Constipation or obstruction
- Crohn’s Disease
- Radiation damage
- Use of acid-blocking drugs
What are the symptoms of SIBO?
Common symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- An uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating
- Unintentional weight loss
Bear in mind that these symptoms above could also relate to other issues too so please see your doctor or nutritional therapist to investigate the real cause.
How I know whether I have SIBO?
Your health practitioner will give you a test that involves taking samples of your breath six times after you have drunk a lactulose solution. The test takes two hours to complete and you will have the results within 7-13 days.
When should I do a functional test?
Indications of when you may benefit from running this test are:
- Carbohydrate intolerance (Inability to tolerate sweet or starchy foods, fibre, or friendly flora supplements)
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Leaky gut (Altered intestinal permeability)
- Malabsorption and maldigestion
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Unexplained abdominal symptoms like pain, especially gas and bloating
What are you waiting for?
In the end, we often live with digestive discomfort because we lack the knowledge of how to fix it. However, when we don’t take care of it, it can lead to some serious health issues. This doesn’t happen overnight and there are many things we can do to improve our gut function.
Don’t ignore it. Get help and get answers. Feel great in your body.
I work with my clients to feel better while we look for answers and I want that for you too.
My name is Joyce Bergsma and I teach my clients how to understand their bodies and nourish them in the best way possible. I help them on the journey to feel amazing in their bodies again so they are living happier, more fulfilling lives.
But what I ALSO do is act as a cheerleader, a navigator and I hold them accountable.
Book a call TODAY! I’ll help you find freedom in your life.