What is SIBO and how can you tell if you have it?

Martina Daireo, nutritionist and creator of Daireaux Nutricion


SIBO is bacterial overgrowth, that is, the presence of excess bacteria in the small intestine that cause gastrointestinal symptoms. It takes its name from the English abbreviation (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). These bacteria are usually found in the large intestine, not the small intestine.

Some of the more common symptoms you may register are:

– Abdominal pain

– Bloating

– an unpleasant feeling of fullness after eating

– Diarrhea

– Constipation.

In some more severe cases, it can cause malabsorption, anemia, or vitamin deficiencies.

Not all people with gastric disease suffer from SIBO, although the condition shares symptoms with other functional digestive diseases such as gastritis or irritable bowel syndrome, conditions that are affected by day-to-day issues such as stress levels and diet. individual. .

How is the diagnosis made? It is carried out by indirect methods: a sample of exhaled air or a respiratory test, currently available.

The study lasts approximately an hour and a half, and during this period, the person’s exhalations are monitored to measure the level of hydrogen present in their intestines. This is related to the level of bacteria present, as at the beginning of the study, the patient must consume a sugar-based preparation to help the bacteria react.

What is the treatment?

If it is positive, antibiotics are required as first line treatment and this will depend on the result of the test as they are treated with different antibiotics. It is important to know how to interpret the curves in order to make a correct diagnosis and approach.

As for the maintenance stage, nutritional counseling is needed to ensure that the patient does not relapse, as a very high relapse rate occurs if habits are not changed. If the patient continues to lead a normal life, eating the same way as before, these bacteria will grow again and the symptoms will return.

It is very important not to self-medicate and to have a diagnosis from a specialist who can interpret the test curves and observations of a nutritionist trained in this field.

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