Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO is an imbalance of the microorganisms that maintain healthy digestion. When too many of the wrong types of bacteria populate the small intestine, it can lead to symptoms such as gas and diarrhea. It can also inhibit the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from food.

Studies indicate that up to 80% of people with irritable bowel syndrome have SIBO. Mild cases may be asymptomatic, while moderate cases feature general symptoms that overlap with other conditions including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • An uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating
  • Diarrhea
  • Malnutrition

Left untreated, SIBO can lead to complications including nutrient deficiencies, dehydration and malnutrition. The condition is treatable but because it can recur, it’s important to pursue treatment. The cause may be due to a structural problem in the small intestine, prolonged or overuse of medications or retaining waste too long in the small intestine.

Since SIBO is often a complication of another condition, treatment will need to address the overgrowth, underlying cause and any complications. A course of antibiotics is the standard medical treatment for bacterial overgrowth. Nutritional support and supplementation for vitamin and mineral deficiencies may be introduced followed by a diet plan to replenish nutrition and keep bacterial overgrowth in check.