Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when you have too much bacteria in the small intestine. Bacterias are essential for our digestive system. The good bacteria serve to counter the bad bacteria or germs that can make you sick. It generally occurs when, for any number of reasons, you are not able to digest food as quickly so the bad bacteria have more time to hang around and cause discomfort. As the bad bacteria persists and multiplies the good bacterias are unable to keep up.
How do you know if you have SIBO and what does DIBO feel like?
The first sign of SIBO is that you probably won’t be feeling very well. Feeling unwell may mean abdominal pain; queasiness; fatigue; bloating; passing more gas than usual and either diarrhoea or constipation. As a result the body may be missing out on important nutrients and you could start losing weight or anemia might develop.
Are you at risk of developing SIBO?
It isn’t so much a case of how to test for SIBO because the symptoms occur in the digestive system and they vary from person to person. We do know that as you get older you make less gastric acid to break down your food. This can lead to a condition called diverticulosis – a condition where small pouches or pockets develop in the wall or lining of the digestive tract.
Diverticulosis can change the shape of the small intestine which could make you more susceptible to SIBO. Other people that might be likely to develop SIBO include people who have had gastric bypass surgery or radiation therapy following abdominal surgery. If you have a build up of a protein called amyloid in your small intestine then that also might lead to SIBO. SIBO is particularly common in people with inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
How can you treat SIBO?
SIBO treatments and symptoms can vary depending on the symptoms and the causes. There is a case for medication however you should consult with your SIBO doctor in Sydney – medication should not be an immediate or essential form of treatment.
Adjustments to your diet is a great starting point. You might be able to identify certain foods that aggravate the symptoms. If so, it would make sense to eliminate those foods. If you want to experiment with foods that you think might be causing the symptoms then eliminate those foods for three days and then re-introduce them. Fiber supplements and liquid medications are common irritants for people with SIBO. So are the usual offenders of the digestive system.
If you are troubled by any of the symptoms we have described, you should contact Dr Peter Dobie and make an appointment at his Northern Sydney or Eastern Suburbs surgeries. You may find the solution is some simple lifestyle changes. Why live in discomfort, contact Dr Peter Dobie today.