Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Click to listen to an in depth podcast episode about SIBO. 

Click to listen to an in depth podcast episode about SIBO. 

In recent years researchers have begun to shed light on the challenging areas of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gastrointestinal inflammation, leaky gut and the growing epidemic of food allergies and sensitivities. 

6 years ago a condition now known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) was brought to light by Dr. Mark Pimentel, Director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. After discovering SIBO Dr. Pimentel wrote a book on his findings called “A new IBS solution”. In his book he points out that today over 60 million people across the United States are suffering from IBS and Dr. Pimentel believes that the “missing link” or root cause of most IBS cases can be attributed to overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. One research paper reported that in over 86% of IBS sufferers were also diagnosed positive for SIBO. 

This is good news for many people who have spent years suffering with a condition they have been told has no cure, having to live debilitating symptoms.

Our clinic is unique in that we specialise in testing and treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. We have access to the most current equipment for Methane and Hydrogen breath testing and provide effective treatment protocols to help you recover your health and your life from living with these symptoms. 

So if you have been looking for answers we’d love to help you. Please read below for more information on SIBO and please use the book now button on this page if you’d like to start working on healing your gut today.

What is SIBO?

SIBO is an overgrowth of either pathogenic or beneficial bacteria in the small intestine. 

Naturally our large intestine is equipped to facilitate billions of bacteria and this is essential to health and biological functions. The problem occurs when this bacteria relocates to the small intestine, as the small intestines primary role is in digestion and absorption of nutrients and in order to do this is cannot have large numbers of bacteria present. 

In the presence of this overgrowth of bacterial the small intestine no longer can function properly to digest and absorb food which leads to multiple nutrient deficiencies (and subsequent systemic symptoms and conditions) as well as the common IBS symptoms of bloating, pain, gas, cramping, diahorrea or constipation. 

Until we address the bacterial overgrowth the symptoms will remain and often grow worse over time. Patients are often told they have IBS and given no further options or support. This is where we are different, we believe when we address the underlying cause of SIBO we can affect long lasting change and help you back to health and a happy gut!

Common Symptoms of SIBO include:

  • Gas & Bloating immediately – 1 hour after eating
  • Abdominal pain & Cramping
  • Heartburn
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Chronic Diahorrea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Restless Legs
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Lowered Immunity
  • Mood imbalances – anxiety, depression, OCD +
  • And more...

Contributing Factors for SIBO:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Food Poisoning
  • Antibiotic use
  • Surgery
  • Chronic Illness
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Medications (esp. Protein pump inhibitors, acid blockers)

How do we test for SIBO?

We run a very simple breath test where we supply you with the equipment to take the samples, a test substance and instructions and you conduct the test easily at home. You then send in your test kit to our laboratory. 

The lab then processes these breath tests to measures two primary gases which are only produced as a byproduct of bacterial fermentation - methane and hydrogen gases. If your breath test comes back with positive reading levels of either of these gases we can know that SIBO has been an underlying cause of your gut symptoms.  The level of gases your results shows also indicates to us the severity of your SIBO and helps us adjust our treatment protocol and timeframe accordingly.

Treatment for SIBO:

If you have tested positive for SIBO, we will begin a 6 week antimicrobial treatment plan using natural herbal antimicrobials which do not have the detrimental and harmful side effects as conventional antibiotics. We combine the antimicrobial treatment with a diet restricted in highly fermentable foods (i.e. grains, dairy, and sugars) and this assists in eradicating the excess bacteria from the small intestine. 

After this stage we will put you on a recovery treatment protocol for roughly 6 weeks, which will help to rebuild the gastrointestinal tracts, repopulate the large intestine with beneficial bacteria and assist with adequate nutrient supply and gut motility. This will help you maintain the improvement and healing long term. 

If you are interested in finding out more about SIBO or if you would like to organise breath testing, please contact our clinic on 0416 775 530 for more information or use the book now button to arrange your appointment.