Our bodies are consistently communicating with us—letting us know when it’s time to eat, sleep, use the bathroom and so on. But how often to you listen to your small intestine? Few people recognize this valuable communication from the gut, which typically occurs with gas or bloating.
A lot of people think gas and bloating are normal—a common reaction experienced after a meal. However, regular gas, bloating, or abdominal discomfort may actually be your small intestine trying to tell you something. And if you’re smart, you’ll listen.
There are several mechanisms working within your small intestine that are significant in the process of safely absorbing food nutrients and discarding waste and toxins.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when the number of bacteria in the small bowel increases or changes significantly enough to cause symptoms. Usually, it’s not one single stain of bacteria that overpopulates the small intestine, rather an overgrowth of bacteria that is normally found in the colon. In rare cases, SIBO may result in an overgrowth of normal bacteria found in the small intestine.
Various strains of bacteria found throughout the small bowel work to break down food compounds, protect against pathogens and produce several nutrients like folate and vitamin K. The sum of these various processes affects the muscular activity responsible for moving food content through the gastrointestinal system. If one of these mechanisms is disrupted by an overgrowth of bacteria, one or many of these processes may fail.
How Do I Know I Have SIBO?
SIBO tends to be under-diagnosed. This is because most people learn to live with the discomfort of regular gas and bloating, often aided by over-the-counter medications. Common symptoms of SIBO may include:
Serious cases may also result in weight loss and vitamin deficiencies.
What Causes SIBO?
SIBO is typically the result of a poor diet including excessive sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. However, diet is not the only contributing factor for SIBO. Other causes of SIBO may include low stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prior bowel surgery, excessive antibiotics and diabetes.
If one or a combination of symptoms occurs fairly regularly, it may warrant further investigation. You may choose to speak to your doctor or, if you’re still unsure, take a home breath test, like the Genova Lab Bacterial Overgrowth in Small Intestine Breath Test.
This home test is a non-invasive way to detect bacterial overgrowth in the small bowel. It’s also easy to do, and it can be administered in the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.
Remember, your body may be trying to tell you that there’s a problem in your gut. Take note of your symptoms and don’t delay. Chronic discomfort, excessive gas, and bloating don’t have to be a regular part of your life. Take the home test today to find out more about what’s going on in your gut.