Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Facts

Who is at risk for SIBO?

Small intestine bowel overgrowth is often associated with another illness that affects the function of the small intestine. The body has many protective mechanisms to keep bacteria under control, including stomach acidity and intestinal motility, the ability for the intestine to move its contents downstream at an appropriate speed. Bacterial growth is hindered by the presence of bile and immunoglobulins. Finally, the ileocecal valve prevents stool from refluxing from the colon (large intestine) into the ileum or the last part of the small intestine.

Any illness or disease that affects the body's defense mechanism puts a person at risk for SIBO, but the majority of people develop SIBO because of an intestinal motility problem. These may include complications from gastric bypass surgery, bowel strictures and adhesions that can lead to intermittent bowel obstructions, diverticuli or outpouchings of the small intestine, and tumors. Bowel motility may be affected by neurologic diseases including myotonic dystrophy and Parkinson's disease. People with diabetes with autonomic dysfunction (nerve damage) may also develop dysmotility.

Other intestinal diseases that may be associated with SIBO include:

Scleroderma, leukemia and lymphoma may also increase the risk of developing small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/16/2016

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