Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Testing for IBS

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Testing for IBS

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition, affecting between 10 and 15% of Americans.  Symptoms range from abdominal pain to diarrhea, constipation or bloating.

It is now fairly well established that IBS symptoms can come about from a condition known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.

What is SIBO?

In a healthy small intestine, food and bacteria are moved along by coordinated muscular activity in the intestinal wall.  Diabetes or nerve and muscular damage can limit this activity.  Also, the intestine may be partially obstructed by scarring from surgery, outpouchings (Diverticuli) or by inflammation from conditions such as Crohn’s disease.

Any condition that prevents this normal flow of food and bacteria can lead to bacterial overgrowth of the small intestinal bacteria and even a migration of large intestinal bacteria up into the small intestine.

When these bacteria are out of balance, bloating, diarrhea or constipation can result, depending on the type of bacteria.  Methane producing bacteria produce constipation, while bacteria producing hydrogen typically promote diarrhea or bloating.

How Does the Test Work?

The SIBO test can be done in the comfort of your own home.  You will be given a kit which includes a sugar solution to drink and test tubes to collect breath specimens.  The test requires a breath specimen every 20 minutes for 3 hours and a 24 hour prep.  All this is explained in the kit.

The cost for the test is $175, which is payable to the lab.  Insurance can cover this test and the lab will bill for you. Call 860-584-5746 or email for more details

Can SIBO Be Treated?

If your hydrogen or methane results indicated SIBO, you have choices for treatment.  Xifaxan (rifaximin) is the antibiotic of choice and is available by prescription only.  You can show your result to any MD, APRN or PA and get a prescription.

Natural agents work quite effectively too, and since not all insurance covers xifaxan, which is quite expensive, many choose this route for treatment.  Berberine, allicin (from garlic), and other agents can restore a healthy balance, along with good probiotics.

After balance is restored, the underlying cause must be addressed to minimize the chance of recurrence.    I will help you find solutions that help restore normal activity in your small intestine.