Gas, Bloating and Constipation. What do these three things have in common?
They may be caused by SIBO, SIFO or yeast overgrowth inside your body…
SIBO is an inflammatory condition which can cause problems in all systems in your body. Millions of Americans suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms and distress each year. Diagnoses of leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s and celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) continue to grow, and researchers still can’t quite put their fingers on why our digestive systems are under attack.
Recently, researchers have started to acknowledge there’s another digestive disorder lurking: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO.
It’s more prevalent than previously believed, and it occurs in many people suffering from IBS.
SIBO is the acronym for “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth,” defined as excessive bacteria in the small intestine. While bacterium naturally occurs throughout the digestive tract, in a healthy system, the small intestine has relatively low levels of bacteria; it’s supposed to be at highest concentrations in the colon.
SIBO Check list? Symptoms of SIBO you need to be aware of:
- Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, Rosacea
- New allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances
- Digestive symptoms, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or bowel irregularity (which are often diagnosed as “irritable bowel syndrome” or IBS)
- Candida overgrowth
- Irritable Bowel Diseases, such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis
- Depression and anxiety
- Hormonal imbalances, including PMS and estrogen dominance
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Difficult weight loss (despite eating healthy)
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
What is a SIBO breath test, how does it work?
Simply put, you follow a preparation period to ensure you are able to measure the true level of bacteria in your gut and not what you are fermenting from your last meal or what your last lot of antibiotics, probiotics or even exercise did to your gut. Then, you drink a sample of either a lactulose or glucose solution and breathe into a collection bag in a specified way so we know we are collecting lung air and not the air in your room.
These air samples are taken at specific times, usually every 20 minutes, throughout a three hour period on your testing day and each time you deposit the air into a labelled, timed sample vial until you have completed all the vials. Then, you send the vials to the lab to be analysed.
Why is it important to test for SIBO?
The aging of the population has increased the incidence of bacterial overgrowth. A recent publication by M. Pimentel, E.J. Chow and H.C. Lin has suggested a link between IBS and bacterial overgrowth. In this study, over 78% of the 157 patients with IBS tested positive with the hydrogen breath test. This is an important development for people that suffer from IBS because bacterial overgrowth can be successfully treated.
Linking bacterial overgrowth with IBS makes sense because it relates to the frequent IBS complaint of bloating after eating. As the bacteria ferment food, gas is released into the small intestine, causing painful bloating and other symptoms. In addition, patients are at potential risk of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with the following clinical conditions:
- Immunodeficiency syndromes
- Chronic pancreatitis
- End stage renal disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Short bowel syndrome
- Celiac Disease
- Radiation enteritis
- Long-term treatment with proton pump inhibitors
What are the symptoms of SIBO Infection?
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal bloating
- Gas (flatulence)
- Excess Fat in feces- Stool Floats
- Stool has Oily appearance.
- Weight loss
- adverse reaction to Starches, grains or other carbohydrates
- adverse reaction to probiotics
- Features associated with micronutrient deficiencies (Vitamins B12, B6, B3,B1, A, D, and E, iron,)
What are we looking for in results exactly?
The two gases being measured are hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) as well as a score of the two combined. Most people are predominantly hydrogen-producers, but 30% of the average population are methane-predominant, hence the need to look for both. Methane is often seen in people who have constipation. I assume this might depend on the type of diet people have and how they ferment food individually. Many labs, certainly in mainstream medicine and, I’m told, some pretty well-known highly-regarded ones, still use hydrogen-only machines, which would mean they could miss a load of SIBO sufferers!
We’re essentially looking to see if the hydrogen, methane or a combined score is too high at specific times that relate to the small intestine. Labs do sometimes score these differently, so it depends on the lab being used.
For hydrogen, a positive result for SIBO is usually >20 over baseline figure within the first 90 minutes.
For methane, a positive result for SIBO is usually >10 over the baseline figure at any time. However, the experts believe that anything over 3 if the symptoms fit could be seen as positive.
For combined scores, a positive result for SIBO is >15.
How Did I Develop SIBO
1. Low Stomach Acid
Stomach acid activates digestive enzymes and kills pathogenic bacteria. Low stomach acid — which can be caused by frequent antibiotic use, a diet high in processed foods, or a natural decline with age — can lead to microbial overgrowth, and is therefore a greater risk for bacteria entering the small intestine.
2. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Any medical condition that affects the gut’s muscle function can lead to SIBO. Type 2 diabetes, Thyroid disease, prior bowel surgeries, leaky gut syndrome, and long-term celiac disease can all increase your risk of developing SIBO
3. Dietary Factors: Alcohol, Gluten, Refined Sugar
One study showed a much higher rate of SIBO with moderate alcohol consumption, compared to people who don’t drink alcohol at all (According to sources online, moderate alcohol consumption is considered one alcoholic bevy per day for women, and two per day for men
It’s suggested alcohol causes SIBO for two reasons.
The first reason is that alcohol has been shown to damage small bowel mucosal cells, which can decrease the muscular contractions of the ileocecal valve, which keeps the contents of the large and small intestine separated.
Secondly, both alcohol and refined sugar feed certain types of “bad” bacteria in your system, such as yeast, which is harmful when it overgrows and outnumbers your healthy gut bacteria.
Yeast overgrowth (a.k.a. candida) can lead to leaky gut syndrome, which further impairs gut muscle function, and creates an ideal environment for SIBO (and other health conditions) to manifest.
Eating gluten may also increase your risk for SIBO, because it’s one of the main contributors to leaky gut.
As you can see, SIBO goes hand in hand with leaky gut. In fact, SIBO and leaky gut are almost like a “chicken and egg” situation, because it can be hard to tell which one came first.
4. Ileocecal Valve Pressure causing Small Intestine Dysmotility
“Motility” is a term used to describe the contraction of the muscles that mix and propel contents in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can be caused by genetics, autoimmune conditions, and any illness that causes inflammation in the GI tract
5. Slow Bowel Transit Time
A sluggish bowel transit time means it takes longer than 72 hours for food to move through your digestive tract from the time it’s eaten to the time it’s eliminated. It’s a risk factor to SIBO because it allows more time for harmful bacteria to accumulate.
Prescription medications such as antibiotics, antidepressants, Pain pills such as Opiates and birth control pills can destroy healthy gut bacteria and may damage bowel mucosal cells.
Certain bacteria can damage the migrating motor complex. The Migrating motor complex influences bowel motility.
Your Personalized SIBO Breath Test and Consult includes:
- SIBO Test
- One on one consult with Dr Hagmeyer to discuss Test Results.
What Are My Treatment Options?
A Personalized treatment program and cost of treatment plan will be recommended after your test results have been reviewed.
Does Insurance Cover this test?
Where do I have my sample drawn?
This test is done in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
How long will it take to receive my Test Results?
Results are posted within 2-4 weeks. We will notify you as soon as we have test results
Will Dr Hagmeyer discuss the test results with me?
Yes. Each test done through comes with a 30 minute post test review, and recomendations for a treatment program.
What happens if I cancel my test?
Once the test is purchased there are no refunds.
If your SIBO test result is negative, what else could it be?
It Could it be a food sensitivity/Intolerance, Non-Celiac Gluten disorder, Gut infection, Disbiosis, Leaky gut- Sometimes it could be a combination of factors having overlapping symptoms.
Not Sure Where To Start? Need Some Direction?
We are here to help you! Take a few minutes to fill out my Health Questionnaire. Once I know your top health concerns, your goals and what kind of help you are looking for, I will send you back some of my initial recommendations. If you want to speak with me, I’ll send you a link for a 15 minute phone consult as well.