Gut health challenges are common for many individuals across the U.S.

From mild heartburn to weight gain, it’s not uncommon to realize your digestive system isn’t functioning properly and needs a helping hand.

However, if you routinely experience…

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Burping
  • Constipation
  • Gas

…there’s a chance you have more than a mild case of poor gut health.

In fact, you may suffer from a condition that’s known as SIBO.

If SIBO sounds more like a department in the US government than a medical condition, keep on reading. In this article, we’re covering some important facts about SIBO—helping you understand this health issue better.

1. SIBO refers to poor gut health in your small intestine.

In case you’re wondering, SIBO stands for small bacterial intestinal overgrowth.

As the NUNM SIBO Center explains, this occurs when bacteria (that are supposed to be living in your lower intestine) make their home in your small intestine.

Not surprisingly, this creates major problems and leads to the symptoms listed above.

2. There’s more than one way to test for SIBO.
One method of determining if you have SIBO is collecting jejunal fluid from your small intestine and running a test for a bacterial overgrowth.

However, this somewhat scary test isn’t your only option.

You can also opt for a breath analysis. For this procedure, you’ll drink a liquid containing sugar. Afterwards, the test will determine if your breath indicates you have hydrogen or methane gas caused by SIBO bacteria.

As Verywell explains, hydrogen in your breath “is thought to indicate that bacteria are present in the small intestine as they are interacting with the consumed sugar and releasing hydrogen or methane.”

3. A number of factors may cause SIBO.

Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease offers some insight into why people develop SIBO, explaining some circumstances that can cause you to develop an overgrowth:

  • You have an obstruction in your intestine.
  • You have inactivity in your intestine which allows bacteria to grow.
  • You suffer from diabetes, scleroderma, small bowel diverticulosis, or Crohn’s disease.

4. If you have SIBO, you may have irritable bowel syndrome.

If you have SIBO, there’s a good chance this isn’t your only gut health challenge. The reality is, SIBO can accompany other digestive problems.

According to this article in the Journal of Gastroenterology, “More than one-third of IBS patients tested positive for SIBO, and the odds of SIBO in IBS were increased by nearly fivefold.”

5. Antibiotics are a common treatment for SIBO.

Given that SIBO is a bacterial infection (not a viral one), it’s not surprising that antibiotics are a common form of treatment. You’ll find that the antibiotic rifaximin has received a bit of positive attention when it comes to treating SIBO—both in the naturopathic realm and in scholarly literature.

6. Once treated for SIBO, you can relapse.

Treating SIBO can get complicated.

The reality is, once you’ve treated your bacterial overgrowth, there’s a chance your symptoms can reappear.

As the Natural Medicine Journal explains in its takeaways from the 2017 Integrative SIBO Conference, a relapse occurs for two thirds of SIBO patients—creating the need for ongoing management.

7. A key part of addressing SIBO is changing your diet.

As with any gut health issue, a key part of reversing your symptoms is changing your diet.

With the proper nutrition, you’ll help your body fight SIBO and begin to repair your digestive system. In fact, there’s even a diet you can implement for your bacterial infection.

If you’re ready to take the proper steps to heal your gut, I’d encourage you to check out my article Bone Broth: 4 Benefits of Drinking This Miraculous Elixir and stay tuned for my upcoming blog on the SIBO diet.