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SIBO Testing for IBS

Noble Naturopathic SIBO Testing for Functional Digestive Issues

SIBO,or Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth, refers to an imbalance of probiotics (or microbiome) in the small intestine. This set up can cause of series of unfavorable digestive symptoms and can lead to unnecessary worry about health, signficant discomfort, unenjoyable laboratory workups and mental and physical symptoms not commonly thought to be related to digestion. 

SIBO symptoms vary widely from person to person. A few key symptoms and conditions caused by SIBO include:

  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Brain Fog
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Acid Reflux
  • Rosacea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • GERD

When bacteria (even healthy ones) overpopulate the small intestine, they inhibit the proper digestion of carbohydrates (carbs/sugars/fermentable substances).

The key role for the small intestine in optimal wellness is adequant nutrient absorption. If there is an imbalance in normal flora in that area carbohydrate fermentation causes gas production to increase. This process of fermentation can cause a whole host of symptoms ranging from GI distress to joint pain and difficulty concentrating.

If we can determine there is a significant production of gas occurring in the small intestine we can dignose SIBO and attempt to suppress the imbalance of bacteria. Naturopathic doctors use a variety of therapies to help achieve the balance. Through nutrition changes, supplementation, herbal prescribing, enzyme support and, occassionally, antibiotics (Rifaximin – not absorbed, mainly used in SIBO), SIBO treatment can be short, effective and life changing. 

How Does SIBO Testing Work?

Testing for SIBO is quite simple. The SIBO test can be diagnosed by an at-home breath test which measures hydrogen and methane gases in the breath.

For 1-2 weeks prior to the test patients need to follow specific supplement avoidance advice and then for 1-2 days before the test there are manditory dietary changes.

On the day of the test the patient will consume a sugar supplement that will stimulate gas production when overgrowth and/or imbalance is present. The patient will then do a breath test every twenty minutes for three hours. Each of those samples will be assayed at the lab. 

If in the first two hours following the sugar consumption gas is produced abundantly a diagnosis of SIBO is made. 

After treatment symptoms are reviewed and retesting can be done.