SIBO is the acronym for a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. SIBO is a chronic bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.  It is caused when bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract enters the small intestine in large numbers, causing havoc. It is estimated that up to 60% of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are experiencing their symptoms due to SIBO.

Why is this problematic? The small intestine is not supposed to have large numbers of bacteria living in it because the purpose of the small intestine is to absorb the nutrients from our food, not have them broken down by bacteria.  When the bacteria overgrow in the small intestine, the normal balance is disrupted and many people can experience painful symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating

  • Cramping

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Alternating constipation and diarrhoea

  • Food sensitivities

  • Belching and flatulence

  • Nausea

  • Heartburn / acid reflux

  • Fatigue

  • Chronic digestive complaints

  • Abdominal cramping and pain

  • Joint pain

  • Skin rashes (such as eczema, hives, rashes)

  • Iron and B12 deficiency

  • Respiratory symptoms (such as asthma)

  • Mood symptoms (such as depression, anxiety)

  • Brain symptoms (such as autism)

What causes SIBO?

It is believed SIBO may be caused or exacerbated through a variety of means, including:

  • Food poisoning

  • Gastroenteritis

  • Gastrointestinal infection and upset

  • Use of antibiotics

  • Acid blockers

  • Fungus overgrowth

  • Surgical interventions and operations to the abdomen

  • Endometriosis

  • A dysfunctional ileocecal valve

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Overconsumption of simple carbohydrates

  • Stress

  • Diabetes

  • Caesarian birth

  • Lack of breast feeding as an infant

What conditions are associated with SIBO?

There are a number of conditions that are known to be associated with SIBO. These are:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • Acid reflux

  • Coeliac disease

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic constipation

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (eg. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)

  • Diabetes

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Acne rosacea

  • Hyperthyrodism

  • Scleroderma

  • Chronic Prostatitis

  • Non alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

  • Liver cirrhosis

  • Diverticulitis

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