The toll of GI (gastrointestinal) diseases on the US population is extensive. A published survey by the Journal of Gastroenterology documents that GI diseases affect an estimated 60 to 70 million US citizens annually.
Millions of Americans take medications to fight heartburn every day, but the price they pay may harm much more than their pocketbook. Recent studies have found that proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, Nexium and Prevacid, which fight heartburn and acid reflux, may spur kidney disease, increase the risk of her attack and stroke, and lower the odds of surviving cancer, in addition to several other serious medical problems such as SIBO, our topic in this article.
WHAT IS SIBO? SIBO is the acronym for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. The term first became associated with intestinal strictures around 1939. Most recently in 2000, Mark Pimental, MD, and colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reported a 78% prevalence of SIBO in patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Ever since, it has been associated with IBS.
COMMON SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH SIBO: fatigue, rashes, insomnia, acne, bloating, chest pain, halitosis, gastritis, belching, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, joint pain, diarrhea, vitamin deficiencies, constipation, and nausea. Further evidence indicates that SIBO may also trigger some autoimmune disorders.
TESTING FOR SIBO: The upper portions of the small intestine normally contain minimal numbers of bacteria. Stomach acid, intestinal motility, biliary secretions, and our own immune system keep bacterial growth in check. With the loss of any of these protective mechanisms, bad bacteria can thrive. One standard for SIBO is checking the intestinal fluids, but a less costly and less invasive test that has gained favor is a simple breath test that can be done at home.
GOOD NEWS: SIBO is often treated with antibiotics. Even with antibiotics SIBO is difficult to treat. As research into SIBO continues, understanding of the complexity of this problem increases. Dr. Howell has developed a unique protocol tailored to each individual to maximize success that can effectively treat and heal SIBO. To learn more about SIBO assessment and treatment please give our office a call.