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The silent syndrome that may be causing your fatigue, headache and stomach upset

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Are you suffering from fatigue, abdominal distress, IBS, depression and headaches or skin rashes, but haven’t been able to find relief for your problems? If so, you may be suffering from the silent syndrome called SIBO or “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth”.

MedicineNet.com defines small intestinal bacterial overgrowth as a condition in which harmful bacteria reside within the small intestine. Bacteria naturally reside within our large intestine (colon), but individuals with SIBO experience excessive amounts of unhealthy, colonic-type of bacteria in their small intestines. These unhealthy bacteria have been associated with many types of ailments that may go undiagnosed for months or even years.

SIBO may occur from food poisoning. However, the following conditions may also cause abnormal growth of unhealthy bacteria in the small intestine:

Symptoms associated with SIBO may include:

  • Constipation, diarrhea or both
  • Excessive gas
  • Abdominal bloating and distension
  • Excessive intestinal “noise”
  • Abdominal pain
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

SIBO is diagnosed through a test called the hydrogen breath test (lactulose test). If a hydrogen breath test comes back positive, your doctor may recommend treatment with an antibiotic called Xifaxan (Rifaximin) or another type of broad-spectrum antibiotic to eradicate the unhealthy bacteria. It is important to note that a positive hydrogen breath test does not always mean your symptoms are caused by SIBO. The only way to know if you truly have SIBO is to eliminate the bacterial overgrowth through antibiotic therapy and check for resolution of symptoms.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed for 10 days along with a recommended diet of easily digested low-fiber foods. Some doctors may recommend taking probiotics along with the antibiotic, while others may prescribe taking probiotics at completion of the antibiotic therapy.

SIBO has been associated with other disorders including:

  • IBS – irritable bowel syndrome
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Food sensitivities – such as lactose intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Joint symptoms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Skin symptoms – eczema, rashes, rosacea
  • Headaches

A more extensive list of conditions associated with SIBO can be found at www.siboinfo.com.

More information on SIBO can also be found at MedicineNet.com

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