Prevention (USA)

Could You Have SIBO?


SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, occurs when the small intestine, which is usually relatively sterile, gets overrun with bacteria that would normally be swept out. “When you eat, some of the food gets digested by the excess bacteria in your small bowel rather than by you, and that creates gas,” explains Ali Rezaie, M.D., medical director of the GI Motility program at Cedars-Sinai, in Los Angeles. The bacteria can also gobble up some of the nutrients your body needs, which can eventually lead to malnutriti­on. SIBO is most commonly triggered by food poisoning,

Dr. Rezaie explains. It can also be caused by abdominal surgery, prolonged use of antibiotic­s or proton pump inhibitors, conditions such as celiac disease, or structural problems in the small intestine.

Nonabsorba­ble antibiotic­s are a common treatment for SIBO, though many patients will need maintenanc­e therapy with pro-motility drugs or low-fermentati­on eating. “Most people who are properly treated for SIBO can have a very comfortabl­e life, and many can be completely cured,” Dr. Rezaie says.



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