Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Specialist

Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. -  - Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A.

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD, Kent Island, MD, Odenton, MD, Bowie, MD, Pasadena, MD & Greenbelt, MD

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and excess gas might be due to a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). If you have SIBO symptoms, the experienced team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. can help. They perform lactulose breath tests at their offices in Annapolis, Stevensville, Odenton, Bowie, and Pasadena, Maryland, to identify SIBO and determine the best treatment. Call the office nearest you to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Q & A

What is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where higher than normal numbers of “bad” bacteria grow in your gastrointestinal system.

Everyone has bacteria within their small intestine that play an important role in digestion. These beneficial strains of bacteria are vital for a healthy digestive system, but there are also less helpful bacteria in your gut.

Sometimes a problem develops with the balance between good and bad bacteria, resulting in SIBO.

What causes small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?

SIBO can develop if food isn't moving through your small intestine at the right speed. If partially digested food stays in your small intestine for too long, the bad bacteria in that area start to multiply.

Possible causes of this slow passage of food through your small intestine include:

  • Older age
  • Diverticulosis
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Previous gastric bypass surgery
  • Surgical scar tissue buildup
  • Excess of amyloid protein
  • Blockages in your gastrointestinal tract
  • Immunoglobulin A deficiency

To confirm a diagnosis of SIBO, your provider at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates conducts a lactulose breath test. You drink a special sugary beverage, then over a period of three hours, you breathe into a balloon every 15 minutes.

Your provider tests the air in the balloon for high levels of methane and hydrogen that the bacteria give off when you have SIBO.

What symptoms does SIBO cause?

When the bad bacteria in your small intestine first start to multiply, you could experience:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Queasiness or nausea
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Excessive gas

As SIBO worsens, you might begin to lose weight and develop anemia if your body isn't extracting the nutrients it needs from your food. As these symptoms are typical of numerous disorders, it's vital to visit Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates to confirm the diagnosis.

What treatments are available for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?

If your lactulose breath test records hydrogen levels that are too high, you might need to take an antibiotic called rifaximin to rebalance your gut bacteria. If the problem is excessive methane, you need the antibiotic neomycin.

Dietary changes can also make a considerable difference to your SIBO. Sugary foods and sugar alcohols are likely to trigger SIBO, so cutting them out can help. 

Your provider might suggest you follow a low-FODMAP diet and take prebiotics and/or probiotics to increase good bacteria levels in your gut.

FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are carbohydrates that may encourage the growth of bad intestinal bacteria in some people.

Find out whether you have SIBO and get the most effective treatments by calling Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. today or booking an appointment online.