The Truth Behind SIBO - Part 1


Written by Clare Abercrombie Bloated? Fatigued? Abdominal pain? These symptoms, along with constipation and diarrhea are signs you may be suffering from SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Many of us suffer from the occasional abdominal discomfort or bloating, but frequent abdominal discomfort or irregular bowel movements is a sign you may be experiencing SIBO. We want to explore this condition in preparation of our How to Heal the Gut talk on November 10!

The Small Intestine

SIBO is bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine which is the muscular connection between the stomach and large intestine. The main purpose of this organ is to digest food and absorb nutrients. It is also plays a role in regulating our immune system. Unlike the large intestine and colon which should be rich in beneficial bacterial and yeasts, the small intestine has a much smaller population of microbes.

What is SIBO?

SIBO occurs when an over-abundance of bacteria inhabits the small intestine. This is problematic because it can disrupt absorption of key nutrients, as well as result in inflammation. Inflammation impacts the integrity of the mucosal lining of the gut resulting in intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”. Intestinal permeability is linked to a variety of health conditions from autoimmune disease, food allergies, to mood disturbances and more.

Why does it occur?

The cause of SIBO is complex and typically multifactorial. It usually involves a disruption of the normal protective mechanisms our body has in place to maintain equilibrium. Some known risk factors include;

  • Low stomach acid (suppressed by PPI’s and H2 blockers medications)
  • Celiac disease
  • Prior bowel surgery,
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple rounds of antibiotics
  • Gastroparesis (poor bowel motility)
  • Alcohol Use
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Diets rich in processed carbohydrates

Diagnosis of SIBO

Common symptoms of SIBO include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and gas. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or have been diagnosed with IBS-Constipation typeIBS-Diarrhea type or Crohn’s Disease, testing for SIBO may be invaluable. One of the wonderful aspects of working in an integrative medicine practice, is the utilization of innovative specialty testing. Philadelphia Integrative Medicine offers 3 hour breath tests for SIBO that can be done at home. These tests measure hydrogen and methane levels exhaled in 20 minute increments before and after consuming a sugar rich drink. An increase in these gases after the sugar consumption is considered positive for SIBO. These tests have proven to be a key diagnostic tool when assessing intestinal health and over abundant bacterial species in the small intestine. Knowing the root cause is essential in addressing symptoms and restoring health!


Read Part 2 of this SIBO blog series! Where we explore nutrition, diet, and an integrative approach to treating SIBO!


Interested in attending our upcoming talk?

How to Heal the Gut, Secrets of your Microbiome- Experience Probiotic Foods!

November 10, 2016

Tredyfrin Public Library

582 Upper Gulph Road

Strafford, PA 19087

Admission is FREE!


*We do not receive any financial benefit from recommending specialty tests.