Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the overall bacterial population in the small intestine, particularly types of bacteria not commonly found in that part of the digestive tract. this condition is sometimes called blind loop syndrome.
sibo commonly occurs when a circumstance, such as surgery or illness, slows the passage of food and waste products through the digestive tract, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. excess bacteria often cause diarrhea and can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.
Although sibo is often a complication of stomach (abdominal) surgery, this condition can also be caused by structural problems and some diseases. surgery is sometimes needed to correct the problem, but antibiotics are the most common treatment.
signs and symptoms of sibo often include:
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating
- unintentional weight loss
- persistent diarrhea
- rapid and involuntary weight loss
- abdominal pain that lasts more than a few days
- complications of abdominal surgery, including gastric bypass for obesity and gastrectomy to treat peptic ulcers and stomach cancer
- Structural problems in and around your small intestine, including scar tissue (intestinal adhesions) that may wrap around the outside of the small intestine and bulging pockets of tissue that bulge through the wall of the small intestine . intestine (intestinal diverticulosis)
- certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, radiation enteritis, scleroderma, celiac disease, diabetes, or other conditions that can slow the movement (motility) of food and waste products through the small intestine
- gastric surgery for obesity or ulcers
- a structural defect in the small intestine
- an injury to the small intestine
- an abnormal passageway (fistula) between two segments of the intestine
- Crohn’s disease, intestinal lymphoma, or scleroderma affecting the small intestine
- history of radiation therapy to the abdomen
- diverticulosis of the small intestine
- adhesions caused by previous abdominal surgery
poor absorption of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. bile salts, which are normally needed to digest fats, are broken down by excess bacteria in the small intestine, resulting in incomplete digestion of fats and diarrhea. Bacterial products can also damage the mucous lining (mucosa) of the small intestine, resulting in decreased absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.
Bacteria can compete for available food. and compounds produced through bacterial breakdown of stagnant food can also trigger diarrhea. Together, these effects of bacterial overgrowth result in diarrhea, malnutrition, and weight loss.
Vitamin deficiency. As a result of incomplete fat absorption, your body cannot fully absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Bacteria in the small intestine synthesize and use vitamin B-12, which is essential for the normal function of the nervous system and the production of blood cells and DNA.
Bacteria overgrowth can lead to b-12 deficiency which can lead to weakness, fatigue, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet, and in advanced cases, mental confusion. Damage to your central nervous system as a result of b-12 deficiency may be irreversible.
- Weakened bones (osteoporosis). Over time, damage to the intestine from abnormal bacterial growth causes poor absorption of calcium and, over time, can lead to bone diseases, such as bone disease. osteoporosis.
- kidney stones. Calcium malabsorption can also lead to kidney stones.
when to see a doctor
Bloating, nausea, and diarrhea are signs and symptoms of many intestinal problems. See your doctor for a full evaluation, especially if you’ve had abdominal surgery, if you have:
If you have severe abdominal pain, seek immediate medical attention.
Bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine (sibo) can be caused by:
why small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (sibo) develop
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The small intestine is the longest section of your digestive tract, measuring about 20 feet (6.1 meters). the small intestine is where food mixes with digestive juices and nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Unlike your large intestine (colon), your small intestine normally has relatively few bacteria due to the rapid flow of contents and the presence of bile. but in sibo, stagnant food in the diverted small intestine becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. bacteria can produce toxins and interfere with nutrient absorption. breakdown products that follow bacterial digestion of food can also trigger diarrhea.
Factors that increase the risk of sibo include:
Bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine (sibo) can cause escalating problems, including: