Over 5 million Canadians suffer from IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, experiencing symptoms such as constipation and/or diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Most people are told there is no real cause of IBS, but studies are now showing that a condition known as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is an extremely common and causative condition that is connected to not only IBS, but also many other health issues.
SIBO occurs when excess bacteria, both “good and bad” reside in the small intestine. Most bacteria in our digestive systems are housed in the large intestine or colon, and a very small amount is present in the small intestine. The main functions of the small intestine are to digest and absorb nutrients. Overgrowth of bacteria in this area can affect this process, and create symptoms such as:
- Diarrhea and/or
The main reason SIBO occurs is due to a dysfunction in the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC), which acts create muscle contractions to move bacteria and other substances from the small to the large intestine during fasting or when you are not eating. A disruption in the wave-like movement of the MMC can thereby contribute to an accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine. Conditions that affect or damage the MMC, such as Celiac disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease can contribute to SIBO. In addition to those previously listed, SIBO is associated with a variety of systemic conditions, including:
- Food Sensitivities & Intestinal Permeabiilty
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Bile insufficiency
Proper testing and treatment for SIBO ensures that the root cause of your health concern is being addressed, and prevents recurrence of your symptoms.
Pimentel, M., Chow, E., & Lin, H. (2000). Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 95(12), 3503-3506.
Lin HC, et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: a framework for understanding irritable bowel syndrome. JAMA. 2004 Aug 18;292(7):852–858.
Pyleris E et al. The prevalence of overgrowth by aerobic bacteria in the small intestine by small bowel culture: relationship with irritable bowel syndrome. Dig Dis Sci. 2012 May;57(5):1321–1329.
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