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Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) definition and facts

  • SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
  • SIBO can be considered to be of two types.  One is associated with identifiable diseases or conditions of the intestines.  The other is not.
  • SIBO of either type can give rise to similar symptoms including indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or loose stools.
  • The type associated with intestinal diseases and conditions may result in, the inability of the body to absorb nutrients from the intestine and may lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies that may help direct testing to find the diagnosis.  This article deals only with SIBO associated with intestinal diseases and conditions.
  • The diagnosis is often one of exclusion, making certain that other causes of the symptoms are not present.
  • Blood tests, breathe tests, and biopsies or tissue samples from the small intestine may be required to make the diagnosis of either type of SIBO.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed but the type and length of treatment depends upon the patient and the symptoms.
  • Any underlying illness will also need to be addressed at the same time once therapy is started for SIBO.
  • The prognosis depends upon how well the associated illnesses are managed and the response to therapy. Relapse is fairly common.
Return to SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Broken Tongue, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 23

I have extreme SIBO (hydrogen breath tests value starts high and goes over 100). Cause was TBI (total body irradiation) some years ago. I was prescribed Xifaxan. It worked wonderfully. It is not a cure, you need to repeat courses of treatment now and then but has provided great relief.

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