03 9438 1368

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) describes the condition where abnormally big numbers of bacteria are found in the small intestine. These bacteria are not pathogenic but resemble colon bacteria where they have entered the system either via the mouth or nose or from the colon and large intestine.

This is an issue within your system as the small intestine is not meant to have large numbers of bacteria living in it, this is because the small intestine is designed to absorb the nutrients from our foods and not to be broken down by bacteria. The normal balance of bacteria becomes unbalanced when there is an overgrowth of bacteria and this is where it can cause you many issues.

We all have a big defence system in our bodies and this is our stomach, it defends against pathogenic organisms and bacteria that we ingest but they are mostly killed off with the enzymes and acid. If we do not have enough acid or enzymes the bacteria can travel through to the small intestine.

The American journal of Gastroenterology published a study in 2003 that found 84% of people that shuddered with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) actually had SIBO. Dr Mark Pimentle is a leading SIBO researcher and gastroenterologist in Los Angeles stated that “most IBS is actually SIBO”. IBS is one of the most common complaints in the world and 1 in 5 Australians have IBS and a lot of them will actually have it because of SIBO.

The main causes of SIBO are:

  • Migrating motor complex protects the body against SIBO by moving out bacteria, cellular debris and chyme (acid past from your stomach) to the large intestines a bit like the housekeeper of your system. A common cause of deficiency of the migrating motor complex is food poisoning where the damage to the nerve cells stops the complex from working. Diabetes, Parkinson Disease, Hypothyroid, pharmaceutical use such as antibiotics, stress, bad eating habits and poor sleep can add to deficient migrating motor complex.

  • Structural complications of the small intestine such as tumours, adhesions, compression, diverticula, loops and twists of the intestine. Your body will have difficulty with clearing the intestines causing bacteria to migrate and overgrow. You need to look at long term care and recovery so as to not relapse. This can include IBD, cancer, appendicitis, c-section, adhesions and endometriosis.

  • Immunodeficiency disorder where your immune system is not working adequately and cannot clean out your system of the bad guys, hence it allows the bacteria to overgrow as it is tired and does not have the energy to work efficiently. These can include T cell deficiency or HIV.

  • Other factors to look at are deficient hydrochloric acid, enzyme and bile issues, proton pump inhibitors (PPI), obstruction, coeliac disease, scleroderma, crohn’s disease and ileocecal valve issues can also contribute.

We need to address the underlying causes so as to prevent relapses of SIBO. We will need to do antimicrobial treatment for gut restoration. You may need to do a detox and ongoing management for repair of your gut. Maintain healthy gut mucosal integrity, microbiome and motility.

How to test for SIBO, you can do a hydrogen breath test.

If you have any symptoms that you would like to investigate, further make an appointment to discuss so we can get you back on track to be the best that you can be.

Karyn Campbell

Karyn Campbell is the Naturopath at Diamond Creek Natural Medicine Centre