Small intestine bacterial overgrowth can be very harmful if not diagnosed early. The reason behind a bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal region can be anything from diverticulitis to neurological and muscular diseases. Due to the inadequate movement of the intestinal muscles, the digested food cannot pass to the large intestine properly. This is why, the natural bacterial flora, present in the larger intestinal zones, can be seen flourishing in the small intestine. The diagnosis of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can lead to a more complicated problem. Sometimes, due to irritable bowel syndrome or fasting, the bacteria migrate and start feeding on the remaining glucose available in the small intestine. The best way to identify bacterial overgrowth is via a SIBO Breath Test.
The process of breath test
The bacteria produce hydrogen or methane while consuming glucose, lactose, etc. During a breath test, the concentration of these gases is measured and compared with the permissible line. Depending on the contemporary level, the diagnosis is done. The SIBO Breath Test is of two different types.
Lactulose breath test
Lactulose can only be digested by a particular strain of bacteria present in our gut. A patient is fed with a lactulose drink. If he is lactulose intolerant or suffering from bacterial overgrowth in the distal part of small intestine, he will produce a copious amount of hydrogen or methane.
Glucose breath test
Glucose is absorbed within the first one meter of the small intestine. If bacterial overgrowth is present in the latter portion then it can be easily identified with the elevated amount of methane or hydrogen in the breath of the individual.
Non-invasive test for SIBO
SIBO Breath Test is the most secure non-invasive test to learn more about a bacterial overgrowth. On diagnosis, further steps can be taken. The test takes one to three hours but does not involve any painful procedure.