When you’re ready to get to the bottom of your digestive distress, it’s a good idea to keep an open mind about the causes until you have arrived at a conclusive diagnosis with your healthcare team. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, more commonly referred to as SIBO, can be tricky to pinpoint and easy to overlook, with symptoms that are similar to other common gut issues. But it might be worthwhile to consider if you’re over the disruptions and ready for answers.
You might have heard of SIBO, but what is it? Could it be behind your issues? Read on.
Symptoms and Comorbidities
Symptoms of SIBO include:
- Loss of appetite
- An uncomfortably full feeling after eating
- Unintentional weight loss
Often, SIBO is associated with other conditions or circumstances, including:
- Anatomical abnormalities, sometimes associated with surgeries
- Immunodeficiency disorders
- Disorders of antibacterial defenses in the gut
- Poor motility (movement) within the intestines. This may manifest into constipation.
The symptoms of SIBO are the consequences of an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Typical small intestine bacteria counts are around 103 organisms/mL while in cases of SIBO counts may number 105-106organisms/mL. While bacteria count is a diagnostic mechanism of SIBO, the type of microbial flora may determine the specific symptoms that present as well as their severity.
Types of SIBO
There are three main types of SIBO, being hydrogen dominant, methane dominant, and hydrogen-sulfide dominant SIBO. When CorePerform coaches suspect SIBO, the specific symptoms present help determine what type of SIBO might be at work and consequently the course of action to take.
What Causes SIBO?
While microbial count helps clinicians diagnose SIBO, what causes this overgrowth in the first place? It has been long believed that nearly all those who suffer from SIBO have some anatomical abnormality in the gut which inhibits gastric motility or movement, often caused by bowel surgeries or other physical disruptions. While this is indeed a factor, it may also be influenced by the suppression of gastric acid secretion. These acid secretions of the gut are an immune defense intended to maintain manageable levels of bacteria, and when they are suppressed, the bacteria has the ability to multiply beyond healthy levels.
Physical abnormalities may be due to surgery, small intestine diverticula or pockets, radiation, certain medications and Crohn’s disease, while lower gastric acid levels might be caused by certain medications or as a long-term side effect of delayed gastric emptying due to type 2 diabetes.
How CorePerform Can Help
CorePerform, backed by our team of dietitians and coaches, can order and review a GI-MAP. This is a unique and invaluable tool to understand your specific gut microbiota, helping CorePerform practitioners to truly understand your individual gut health picture and identify issues, including the possibility of SIBO.
Should SIBO be determined, antibiotics are often the first course of treatment. While this has been shown to be an effective treatment, without concurrent nutrition therapy, symptoms may persist and you may not restore your gut health (and your quality of life) to its full potential. Vitamin deficiencies due to damaged intestinal microvilli are nutritional concerns that must be acknowledged for full treatment. CorePerform dietitians and coaches can fill in this gap. Practitioners customize a nutrition program that is not only designed to calm your symptoms and heal your digestion, but that is also carefully individualized to yhealou to maintain proper nutrient intake. This means you can finally rehabilitate your digestion while also fueling your health and your life optimally.