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FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • Last updated: 15 February 2024
  • Est. reading time: 2 minutes
  • How Antibiotics and Other Drugs Can Cause SIBO

  • SIBO has many possible causative factors, the overuse of medications being one of them. Opioids, antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the medications that have been implicated as risk factors for SIBO.

  • Est. reading time: 2 minutes
  • How Antibiotics and Other Drugs Can Cause SIBO

  • SIBO has many possible causative factors, the overuse of medications being one of them. Opioids, antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the medications that have been implicated as risk factors for SIBO.

Opioids

Opioids are some of the most prescribed medications for pain worldwide. Unfortunately, they come with lots of unwanted side effects. In our intestine, we have a large number of opioid receptors (how the drug interacts with the body). Opioid receptors have quite a large effect on how our gut works. This includes slowing down our digestion and causing constipation. As well as this, opioid use can disrupt the healthy balance of gut microbes. This can result in inflammation in the gut. When our digestive system slows down, food can sit for longer in our small intestine. Additionally, the food we eat can contain extra microbes. These in combination can result in excess fermentation in the small intestine.

We want to avoid inflammation in the gut as it can cause further damage. This can create an environment for more ‘bad microbes’ to thrive. This can wreak havoc in the long term.

Antibiotics and SIBO

Antibiotics are the first-line treatment for SIBO. Despite this, they can also cause further disruption when overused. When you take a broad-spectrum antibiotic it kills both good and bad microbes. It’s important to try to build your good microbes back up to full diversity. If you don’t, the bad microbes can start to take over. Over time, excess microbes will grow, resulting in SIBO.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs are the most prescribed medications in the world. People will take these if they suffer from acid reflux and stomach ulcers. Some believe PPI overuse can result in SIBO. Yet there is conflicting research. As with any medication, overuse is not recommended. Medications are just one of the possible risk factors for SIBO.

To learn more about other causes of SIBO, check out this article.

Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or discontinuing medications.

Hannah Hilliard

  • 23 December 2023
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