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Your Healthy Family: Is your ongoing bloating, gas and stomach discomfort SIBO?

Posted at 9:35 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 12:37:08-04

It's common to feel bloat, discomfort and abdominal pain after a big meal. But if you're constantly dealing with these symptoms, it could be time to see your doctor.

"Gas, some people feel nine months pregnant, it can cause abdominal pain, and then you might notice a change in your bowel pattern. Some people might experience constipation or diarrhea or a mixed pattern," Katie Hachuela, a Nurse Practitioner with Gastroenterology Associates in Colorado Springs, said.

She said if these symptoms linger, you may have a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.

"SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria that is living in the small intestine. So if you have an overgrowth of bacteria there, they are going to start consuming your food before you can digest it, and that will ferment the carbohydrates that we eat. So this can lead to a lot of unpleasant symptoms," Hachuela said.

She said those unpleasant symptoms can also lead to other health challenges.

"There's actually some research that shows that SIBO is a root cause for about 70 percent of people that experience IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. SIBO is associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, and I've personally seen people that treat their SIBO and their Eczema, which is a skin disorder, that clears up quite significantly," Hachuela said.

To find out if your symptoms are being caused by SIBO, Hachuela said you take a simple test.

"It's a breath test that you take home. The day prior to the testing, you have to follow about a 12 hour diet. It's pretty restrictive, where you limit the carbohydrates that will feed the bacteria," she said.

Then you fast overnight and when you wake up in the morning, you do the breath test.

If you are diagnosed with SIBO, you're treated with antibiotics.