Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Do you struggle with bloating or abdominal distension?
Constipation or diarrhea, or even both? Abdominal pain?
Reflux? Have you been diagnosed with IBS?
These are the classic symptoms of SIBO. Often SIBO gets diagnosed as IBS. In fact, studies show that as many as 78% of individuals with IBS have SIBO (1). One study shows a correlation as high as 84% (2).
SIBO is an acronym for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. As the name suggests, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine occurs. Normally the small intestine is a relatively sterile environment in terms of microbial numbers when compared to the large intestine.
With SIBO that isn’t the case: rather the microbes proliferate and flourish in the small intestine. There, they wreak havoc by producing an abundance of gas that can cause the bloating and distension normally associated with the condition.
The reverberations of SIBO
SIBO is highly correlated to a number of health conditions such as celiac disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Crohn’s, colitis, interstitial cystitis, diabetes, Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism and GERD.
Interestingly, all of those conditions are also correlated to high histamine or mast cell activation. It begs the question: which came first, the SIBO or the histamine troubles?
Left untreated, SIBO can contribute to leaky gut and histamine troubles. It can be a trigger for MCAS. As the gut becomes leaky, microbes or their metabolites can leak through and bind to mast cell receptors, signalling a release of chemical mediators.
Could this be you?
Steps To Take
Do your symptoms match those of SIBO? Bloating or distension? Constipation or diarrhea? Abdominal pain? Reflux?
Talk to your doctor about a SIBO breath test. You may need to see a naturopathic or functional doctor to get this testing done, depending on where you live.
If you test positive, then you will need to undergo treatment that involves anti-microbials, and prokinetics. These can be either herbal or pharmaceutical in nature depending on which practitioner you see, and depending on what you tolerate.
It is also important to work with your practitioner to address the contributing factors to SIBO. This component typically involves exploring why motility is impaired – a contributing factor to the development of SIBO.
Monitor your histamine or mast cell symptoms. Do they improve after SIBO treatment or not?
If you are struggling with gut symptoms, start a conversation with your doctor or health practitioner. Book that appointment today!
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