Gas, bloating, pain and diarrhea aren’t usually common conversation topics due to their embarrassing nature, but if you are experiencing these things, it is vital to keep track of your symptoms and be honest with your doctor to ensure that you are getting the treatment you need. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, tends to be the most common diagnoses of these types of digestive problems, but there might be an underlying cause that’s associated with IBS. Nearly 84% of patients who suffer from IBS also have what is known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO. 

What Is SIBO?

SIBO presents with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, bloating, pain and diarrhea. It is caused by an imbalance or improperly located bacteria within your intestine. There is certain bacterium that is supposed to reside in your lower intestine and aid in the digestion of food. When that bacteria is instead found in the small intestine, it gives off hydrogen and methane gas. This gas is what causes the symptoms of SIBO to appear. 

How Do I Know If I Have SIBO?

While it isn’t always easy to diagnose, and many doctors may assume it is IBS or Crohn’s Disease, there is a test and treatment plan to help keep the symptoms of SIBO at bay. Your doctor can order a test that can help detect bacteria. The test measures the amount of lactulose in your breath, which is a sugar that is not digestible and produced as part of the bacteria breakdown. The levels of lactulose indicate how much gas your intestines are producing, leading to the discomfort and symptoms of SIBO.

How Can GI Associates Help?

Once you receive a SIBO diagnosis, there is an antibiotic that can help keep the disease at bay. Additionally, there are a number of diets that can help, so feeling better could be largely a matter of what you eat. If you have any concerns, make an appointment with one of the doctors at GI Associates today! There is no need to suffer in silence!

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