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Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is exactly as the name describes, it is an overgrowth of normal gastrointestinal bacteria in an area of the bowel (small intestine) where there is not supposed to be so much bacterial growth.  It is believed that SIBO is the cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for 40-80% of people! 


When there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, there is interference with normal digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as, damage to the membrane of the small intestine.  The interference with digestion results in slower digestion.  The retained food particles feed the overgrown bacteria, which the perpetuates the bacterial overgrowth causing excessive bloating, abdominal pain and either diarrhea or constipation or both.


 The interference with absorption can result in nutritional deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, and deficiencies in the fat-soluble vitamins A and D.


The damaged membrane of the small intestine allows for large, undigested particles of food to enter the bloodstream, which triggers the immune system, potentially resulting in food allergies and sensitivities.  This breach in the membrane lining can also allow for bacteria to enter into the bloodstream which can result in an immune reaction potentially leading to chronic fatigue and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 


Typical signs and symptoms SIBO include:


  • Dyspepsia (abdominal pain, bloating, excessive gas production, nausea, heartburn/reflux)

  • Chronic constipation

  • Chronic diarrhea

  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea


Potentially associated Conditions to SIBO include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Eczema/Acne/Rosacea

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Anemia

  • Fatigue

  • Food sensitivities/Celiac disease

  • Headaches

  • Joint pain/Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Depression

  • Fatty stools

Dr. Hitkari tests for SIBO using a Lactulose Breath Test which measures hydrogen and methane levels in the breath that are produced by bacteria in the small intestine.  Once SIBO is confirmed with a Lactulose Breath Test, Dr. Hitkari will use either herbal or prescription antibiotics to kill off the overgrown bacteria and then will work with you to help heal the damage caused by the bacteria overgrowth.

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