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Signs You Are Suffering From SIBO

Over 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from digestive issues -- these numbers are on the rise. Oftentimes, problems in the gut manifest in similar ways, regardless of the root cause. Many sufferers report constipation, bloating, diarrhea, etc. These symptoms can be representative of a plethora of issues. Here are some key differentiators that point to SIBO as the reason for your suffering. 


What is SIBO?

SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO occurs when there is an overwhelming increase in the wrong or too many bacteria in the small intestine. 

How do you get SIBO?

Those who have had abdominal surgery or lower stomach acid are at higher risk of having SIBO. In fact, some doctors think as much as 80% of people with IBS also have SIBO.

Structural problems in the small intestine and antibiotic use can also be causes of SIBO. 

Symptoms of SIBO

We all know of the typical symptoms people experience when their gut isn't functioning best such as bloating, gas and nausea, but what symptoms are unique to SIBO?

  • Fiber worsens constipation: Fiber increases the diverse bacteria in your microbiome to help your body pass stool easier. If adding more fiber to your diet seems to cause more constipation than relief, that might be a sign you have SIBO. 
  • Abdominal pain: Cramping and constipation go hand-and-hand with digestive issues, but if these symptoms worsen into physical pain, SIBO might be the cause. 
  • Prebiotics cause severe bloat: Prebiotics repopulate the gut with good bacteria, but if you take prebiotics and find yourself suffering from extreme bloating, SIBO may be the issue.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): One study found that 59% of those diagnosed with SIBO also suffer from RLS. Once treated for SIBO, RLS symptoms lessened or even disappeared completely. 
  • Chronic Fatigue: Many who suffer from SIBO say that debilitating fatigue is one of the worst symptoms. 

How is SIBO diagnosed?

The good thing about SIBO is that a non-invasive breath test can help diagnose the problem. The test can determine the presence of gas-causing bacteria in the gut. If your levels are above a certain number, this suggests an abundance of bacteria is in your digestive tract. 

Can you treat SIBO?

Once you are diagnosed with SIBO, it’s important to find the underlying cause. Once this is determined, your doctor will design a plan unique to you to help the healing begin. Oftentimes, this treatment includes a major change in diet and taking probiotics. Although healing your gut can be a long process, identifying the root cause is the first step to healing. 

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