Varieties of bacteria are found in the large intestine normally. The problem occurs when these strains are found in the small intestinal zones. Due to the improper migrating motor complex (MMC), digested food is not properly swiped down by the small intestine causing an abnormal increase in the formation of bacteria in the small intestine. Often, due to fasting this type of bacterial overgrowth occurs. The bacterial flora grows rapidly and feeds on the carbohydrates very fast. Due to this process, hydrogen and methane are produced in amounts above the baseline. This is called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO.
Cause behind SIBO
As mentioned earlier, SIBO occurs when digested food is not properly passed down to the large intestine. Due to diabetes and scleroderma affect the involuntary movements of the muscles in the gut. Often, physical obstructions such as surgery scars, diverticulitis, etc can also hinder the free movement of the muscles.
Signs of SIBO
The possible signs of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are mentioned below.
- Cramp and/or pain in the abdominal area
- Constipation (less common)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Specific food intolerances for gluten, lactose, casein, fructose, etc.
- Chronic diseases like fibromyalgia, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, neuromuscular disorders, etc.
- Deficiency of vitamins and minerals
- Mal-absorption of fat
Tests for SIBO
The best way to find out SIBO as per location is via the breath test. It is a non-invasive test where a patient is fed with a specific amount of glucose or lactose. If the gut bacteria are present in the small intestinal region then the amount of hydrogen or methane produced will be higher than the normal level. Assessing the gas concentration, SIBO can be diagnosed. The test takes only a few hours and the patient does not have to suffer any kind of invasive procedure.