Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. Yep.
Normal bacteria are found in abnormal amounts in the small intestine.
Why do you care? You might if you've been told you have IBS since studies have shown up to 84% of IBS cases are caused by SIBO. Oh and it can also lead to nutrient deficiencies, promote inflammation in your body, and cause issues that lead to chronic disease. So you know, if you hate feeling like crap, having no energy, and crapping (or not crapping) your brains out even when you're not sick - you probably want to learn more.
Could I have SIBO? What are some symptoms? Your typical IBS picture - abdominal distension (bloating, food baby...), farts (and maybe they even smell horrid --- like they'll clear a room!), B12 or iron levels that are low despite healthy eating or supplements, heartburn, rosacea, acne, diarrhea and/or constipation (yep, some of my poor patients have BOTH - life's not fair...but there's hope when you've found someone to hear your case and find your solution!).
Okay - so what prevents it? Usually our stomach acid prevents overgrowth --- as well as some neat enzymes in the small intestine like pancreatic and brush-border enzymes. Our bile acids also help out! Oh and a health gut immune function also helps (IgA for the people like me who want to Google more after this post).
Our small intestine has this valve between it and the colon called the ileocecal valve - this prevents colon bacteria from coming up and having a big ol' party in the small intestine - no bueno, this is what can cause SIBO.
OH! You know that gurgling sound or grumbling sound we always think is hunger? That's actually the sound of your migrating motor complex - the MMC. It's this really neat neuromuscular activity thing that "sweeps" our small intestine clean of bacteria so it doesn't overgrow - but so many factors can insult the MMC and stop it from functioning - dun dun dun!
Well crap, what could have caused this? Ohhhh lots - I'll pick a few to share with you!
- getting a gastro bug where you end up vomiting or have diarrhea - this can compromise your MMC and your IgA!
- poor digestion like with low stomach acid, poor liver/gallbladder output, H. pylori infection...
- Diabetes, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis all impact our nerves and this can completely affect your MMC! Heeellllooooo colon bacteria sneaking into the small intestine (remember - not the good kind of party!)
- gynecological issues that take up space - endometriosis or ovarian cysts for instance...and even diverticulitis!
- Here's the kicker: stress and chronic stress can cause it too...yikes. Hiiii North America - have you met stress yet? Yep. THAT sucks. Wonder why so many of us have digestive issues? I can bet my bottom dollar a lot have to do with SIBO!
"Okay...I might have SIBO...Can you help?" You betcha! There's a variety of different testing methods and I love to use the breath test in practice. Why don't you call and we can chat for ten ZERO-obligation minutes about your particular case and I'll shed some more light on how your life could change working with me.