Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills
Gastroenterology & Internal Medicine located in Los Angeles, CA
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is, as you would imagine, a problem relating to the bacteria in your small intestine. The symptoms it causes can mimic those of several other conditions, so you need to consult the expert team at Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills, in Beverly Hills, California, for an accurate diagnosis. They have specialized expertise in treating a range of digestive problems, including SIBO. Call the practice today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Q & A
What is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) means you have high levels of bacteria in your gut.
Bacteria are essential to gut health, and everyone has bacteria in their small intestine that help with digestion. However, the balance between good and bad bacteria can sometimes get disrupted, leading to SIBO.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth typically arises when your small intestine isn’t moving food through your gut fast enough. If the partially digested food isn’t progressing along at the right speed, the bacteria in that area start to multiply.
There are good bacteria that help you digest food, but there are also harmful bacteria in your gut, and if they are the ones growing out of control, it can cause the imbalance that leads to symptoms of SIBO.
What are the symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?
The first signs of SIBO include:
- Abdominal pain
- Passing a lot of gas
- Diarrhea or constipation
If your SIBO gets worse, you could also experience weight loss and anemia because your body isn’t absorbing enough nutrients from your food.
These symptoms are quite vague and could be due to many other causes, so you need to visit Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills for a diagnosis.
Why would I get small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?
The slowing down of your digestive system that leads to SIBO could be due to:
- Advancing age
- Having diverticulosis
- Undergoing gastric bypass surgery
- Scar tissue from abdominal surgery
- Buildup of amyloid protein
- Blockages in the GI tract
- Immunoglobulin A deficiency
If your provider at Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills suspects you have SIBO, they’ll ask you to do a lactulose breath test. You have a sugary drink first, then breathe into a balloon every 15 minutes for three hours. Your provider can then test the air for high levels of hydrogen or methane, which indicates you have SIBO.
How is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth treated?
Where possible, treating the underlying cause of SIBO can reduce your symptoms and prevent future attacks.
If your breath test shows high levels of hydrogen, you can take an antibiotic called rifaximin to rebalance the gut bacteria. If you have high levels of methane, you can also take the antibiotic neomycin.
Making changes to your diet can also help. Cut out sugar to start with, including anything containing sugar alcohol. A low FODMAP diet could help as well. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are types of carbohydrates. You need to follow a nutritionist’s advice when on a FODMAP diet.
Some people might benefit from taking prebiotics or probiotics to boost levels of good bacteria in the gut. Talk to your provider about using these supplements, so you make the right choice.
For more information about SIBO or to book an appointment, call Gastroenterology Associates of Beverly Hills today or use the online scheduling feature.