Believe it or not, the latest research and statistics say that between 5 and 15% of the population considered “healthy” suffer from SIBO. This is also the case for 8 in 10 people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, people who often complain of bloating and gas, believing that this is due to an intestinal problem, actually suffer from this disorder. Discover what the SIBO is!
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is a term used to describe the growth of bacteria in the small intestine. When your digestive system is functioning normally, the level of bacteria that are present is quite low. When these bacteria multiply excessively in your intestines, then you start to have abdominal pain, gas, constipation and bloating.
For better understanding, here’s a foretaste of the digestive process:
When we eat food, saliva softens it to facilitate the chewing. Once properly chewed, the food descends into the esophagus to reach the stomach. It still degrades more by mixing the gastric juice and kneading it. Then it reaches the small intestine. At this level, it is mixed with pancreatic juice and bile to complete the degradation process. The nutrients it contains are well absorbed and sent into the bloodstream that will carry them throughout the body. The last step is the large intestine that receives the remains or waste that will be treated by the bacteria that proliferate before being evacuated.
However, people suffering from SIBO have a too high bacteria level in their small intestine. These damage the cells of the intestine and alter its operation. They absorb certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, proteins or amino acids, before the intestinal cells are able to absorb them. They can also cause hyperpermeability of the intestine and thus permit passage of large molecules into the bloodstream. In addition, some of these bacteria produce ammonia, which will overload the liver.
This high rate of bacteria can lead to inflammation of the intestinal mucosa, to vitamin and nutrients deficiency, as well as food allergies or sensitivities and autoimmune diseases.
The most common symptoms of SIBO include:
- Gas and burping
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal pain
What are the causes of SIBO?
Certain factors may cause excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestine. For example:
- Some antibiotics
- Taking antacids
- Low stomach acid
- Contraceptive pill
- Hepatic dysfunction (liver cirrhosis)
- Diabetes (type I and II)
- Renal failure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity)
How to establish the diagnosis of SIBO?
There are certain tests sold in pharmacies that will help you find out if you suffer from an overgrowth of bacteria in your body. They are based on the amount of hydrogen and methane present in your breath; these two gases are produced by bacteria and released through the lungs.
Can SIBO be treated?
Several drugs are able to cure this disorder and alleviate the symptoms that accompany it. The allicin found in garlic, olive leaf, oregano and other herbs with antibacterial properties are proving to be of a great help. It is also possible to use certain enzymes to weaken the defense mechanisms of these bacteria, facilitating their elimination.
To help you get rid of SIBO, it is important to change your diet that should be healthier and contain no processed food promoting the growth of bacteria.
References: everydayhealth.com, emedicinehealth.com