What causes small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?

Doctor's Answers (1)

  • SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
  • SIBO can be considered to be of two types. One is associated with identifiable diseases or conditions of the intestines. The other is not.
  • SIBO of either type can give rise to similar symptoms including indigestiondiarrheabloatingabdominal pain, and diarrhea or loose stools.
  • The type associated with intestinal diseases and conditions may result in, the inability of the body to absorb nutrients from the intestine and may lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. 
  • The diagnosis is often one of exclusion, making certain that other causes of the symptoms are not present.
  • Blood tests, breathe tests, and biopsies or tissue samples from the small intestine may be required to make the diagnosis of either type of SIBO.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed but the type and length of treatment depend upon the patient and the symptoms.
  • Any underlying illness will also need to be addressed at the same time once therapy is started for SIBO.
  • The prognosis depends upon how well the associated illnesses are managed and the response to therapy. Relapse is fairly common.
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