Left untreated, SIBO can lead to serious complications including nutrient deficiencies, dehydration and malnutrition. The condition is treatable, but it can also recur. If you suspect you have SIBO, it's important to work with an experienced physician.
But left unmanaged, SIBO can cause more serious complications with long-term consequences. Malabsorption of fats, proteins and carbohydrates can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
Symptoms of SIBO are nonspecific and include bloating, abdominal distension, abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, fatigue, and weakness. The frequency and severity of symptoms likely reflect both the degree of bacterial overgrowth along with the extent of mucosal inflammation.
Surprisingly, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a fairly common bacterial disorder. It can often go undiagnosed for years and make your quality of life very poor.
The prognosis of SIBO is determined mostly by the underlying disease leading to bacterial overgrowth. Ultimately SIBO might result in intestinal failure. In scleroderma with gastrointestinal involvement (SIBO, intestinal pseudo-obstruction, malnutrition), the overall 5-year mortality is more than 50%.
Excess bacteria in the small intestine may use up the nutrients needed by the body. As a result, a person may become malnourished. The breakdown of nutrients by the excess bacteria can also damage the lining of the small intestine. This can make it even harder for the body to absorb nutrients.
Irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal motility disorders, and chronic pancreatitis are the most predominant cause of SIBO and account for 80-90% of cases.
For most people, the initial way to treat bacterial overgrowth is with antibiotics. Doctors may start this treatment if your symptoms and medical history strongly suggest this is the cause, even when test results are inconclusive or without any testing at all.
If you have SIBO it means that the bacteria have either overgrown from your large intestine into your small intestine. Symptoms of SIBO include: Loose, pale and foul-smelling stools.
Bloating is a common symptom in SIBO. Apart from bloating, other common symptoms of SIBO include abdominal pain, nutrient insufficiency (e.g. B12 or iron), aching joints, excessive gas, belching, diarrhoea or constipation.
Allowed sugars: glucose, sucrose, aspartame (Nutra sweet), saccharin. AVOID: Lactose dairy, milk) fructose concentrate, lactulose, Splenda (sucralose), mannitol sorbitol (sugar free gum/mints), oligosaccharides (soy milk), corn syrup (regular sodas many others sweetened foods).
It would take six weeks of antimicrobial medicines and another six months of a restricted diet for her digestion to feel normal again, and for the bloat to finally go away. Lapine, a food and health writer and chef, chronicled her SIBO journey and shared SIBO-appropriate recipes on her blog and podcast in early 2018.
Abdominal pain – linked to the bloating, as the gases build up in the small intestine, they stretch the intestinal walls, and this can be very painful. In some people this pain can be crippling, really affecting their ability to perform ordinary daily tasks.
The recovery of intestinal cells after SIBO therapy can help absorb nutrients, thus contributing to weight gain.
During a SIBO flare-up, a wide range of gut health symptoms can increase or appear. This can involve an increase in symptoms such as bloating, an increase in gas and abdominal pain. It's also common for bowel patterns to alter.
Stress Reduces Gastric Acid Production
A chronic insufficiency of gastric acid allows a larger quantity of ingested bacteria to pass through the stomach unchallenged and enter the small intestine, where they can proliferate. Over time, too much bacteria entering the small intestine may promote the development of SIBO.
Additionally, since the gut is connected to every part of the body, many conditions have been linked to SIBO, such as acne, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and many, many others.
But did you know that SIBO may also cause non-digestive symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, poor mood, headache, joint pain and much more? If you struggle with fatigue and other unexplained SIBO symptoms, gut treatments like probiotics and diet might not be top of mind.
Patients with SIBO experience higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of extroversion than those without SIBO. Patients with SIBO experience a higher situational anxiety-state than those without SIBO. Patients with SIBO experienced higher stress levels than those in the non-SIBO subgroup.
“SIBO, with its high likelihood of generating leaky gut, will need to be corrected for both prevention and treatment of autoimmunity,” she says. So while SIBO doesn't appear to be an autoimmune disease in itself, there are strong associations between SIBO, leaky gut and autoimmune disease.
A standard course of antibiotics typically clears out the bacteria and helps relieve your SIBO symptoms. But even after treatment, some people's symptoms don't completely go away. For others, symptoms improve, but return again shortly.
Many with SIBO have low stomach acid. Increasing stomach acid helps normalize the pH throughout the digestive system and prevent overgrowth. Some ways to increase stomach acid include taking apple cider vinegar or digestive bitters before meals or supplementing with HCl during meals.