What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth?

Adequate growth of bacteria is necessary for healthy digestive system. However, when this bacterium overgrows in small intestine, it gives birth to digestive disorder. This syndrome is commonly called as SIBO. It is the large intestine that should contain gut bacteria and not small intestine.

When it isn’t treated for several months it leads to loss of vitamins and minerals in human body. Some of the major vitamins that can be lost are vitamin B12, calcium and Magnesium. Majorly, we tend to ignore this problem this is why it generally takes, 4 to 5 years to get it treated.

Let’s understand nicely what is SIBO and how does this occur?

Your large intestine should have bacteria in good amount to digest food. There should be small amount of bacteria in small intestine as well. When this bacterium increases in quantity in small intestine it then starts fermenting food. This creates a wide range of problems like gas.

Scientists say that, SIBO can occur in the body when pancreatic enzymes, gut movement and bile acids decrease.

Here are some reasons for developing SIBO –

  • If you already have any problem like IBS which has not been treated for years.
  • When you take antacids for a long time the original production of acid reduces which leads to bacterial growth.
  • Disease like AIDS can reduce our immune system which gives birth to harmful bacteria.
  • Celiac disease is a problem that can create trouble in movement of food in our intestine which also increases bacterial growth.
  • With increase in age, our digestive system becomes weak and is unable to control any disorder.
  • Excess consumption of alcohol can increase the condition of SIBO.

Here are few symptoms that can tell you that you’re suffering with SIBO –

  • Gastric and nausea
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain or cramps

When a person is suffering with SIBO, he or she tends to fart or release gas a lot. This is essential because if the body doesn’t allow them to release gas then it can create pain, cramps and other severity.

There are different ways of treating SIBO and SIBO with IBS –


The only way of treating SIBO is through antibiotics that bring bowel movements and gastric in control. However, when antibiotics are stopped the symptoms starts occurring. Therefore, the antibiotics are the only way to treat a patient and they have to be taken in intervals or forever.


Both problems have common symptoms but due to combined trouble, the condition becomes severe. This means with diarrhea or constipation a person has to face acute gastric and bloating. Probiotics and oral antibiotics are the best way to bring bowels in control. Probiotics are microorganisms that overcome harmful bacteria so that the digestive system functions smoothly.

In both cases, medication is like a gamble, if one medicine fails the other is started. With antibiotics it is suggested to undergo a healthy lifestyle because proper vitamins and fiber works better with antibiotics. Duration of treatment is not determined when the doctor prescribes medicine. However, there are no long term side effects of these antibiotics.

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