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What causes SIBO?
The small intestine is a relatively clean place. The stomach receives food,
mixes it with acid and digestive juices and turns it into a clean slurry that is
pushed through the three parts of small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum)
where the nutrients are absorbed into the body. The refuse is dumped into the
large intestine, or colon, where water is absorbed and the feces become more
solid and are eliminated from the body.
The normal bacteria (flora) of the gut, perform important functions, helping
to digest certain vitamins like folic acid and vitamin K, and they protect the
intestine from being invaded by disease causing bacteria. However, if the
normal function of the intestine is compromised, bacterial overgrowth may occur.
This may be the result of a lack of adequate stomach acid, damage to the intestine
by toxins like alcohol, or a decrease in the speed at which the small
intestine transfers material to the colon.
The colon is not as clean as the small intestine and reflux, or backflow, of
stool into the small intestine can colonize it with harmful bacteria.