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FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • 18 February 2022
  • Est. reading time: 5 minutes
  • SIBO: The IBS Connection & how FoodMarble can help

  • In the final instalment of our FoodMarble SIBO blog series we will look at the connection between SIBO and IBS, as well as some other digestive disorders. Finally we will highlight the areas in your journey to better digestive health where your FoodMarble AIRE or AIRE 2 can play a role.

  • Est. reading time: 5 minutes
  • SIBO: The IBS Connection & how FoodMarble can help

  • In the final instalment of our FoodMarble SIBO blog series we will look at the connection between SIBO and IBS, as well as some other digestive disorders. Finally we will highlight the areas in your journey to better digestive health where your FoodMarble AIRE or AIRE 2 can play a role.

SIBO and IBS

If you have read a little bit about SIBO already you will probably have seen it mentioned in the same breath as IBS. This is understandable, because as we mentioned in our first blog in this series a lot of symptoms are common to both conditions. Furthermore, studies show that while up to 20% of the general population may test positive for SIBO, in people with IBS the rate is 40 – 84%.

 

So, what is the connection between the two? Like a lot of things in the world of digestive disorders, it’s complicated. The origins of IBS are not fully understood but some of the contributing factors are thought to include altered gut-brain interactions, an overly sensitive gut, altered gut motility, stress, an over-reactive gut immune response and more recently an imbalanced gut microbiome. It is this last factor where the two overlap, with SIBO being one possible manifestation of microbiome imbalance. While the SIBO/IBS picture is not clear yet the latest research points to SIBO being one part of the larger IBS jigsaw.

 

Given the prevalence of positive SIBO tests in those with IBS, if you are experiencing symptoms common to both conditions, asking your doctor about a SIBO test is a good place to start.

 

SIBO and Other Digestive Disorders

Just as SIBO overlaps with IBS, it is also associated with a range of other gut disorders. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) differs from IBS in that it is a group of conditions considered to be ‘structural’ or ‘organic’. This means that physical damage or swelling of the gut is present. Symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea are common to IBS, IBD and SIBO. One study showed that over 60% of IBD patients tested positive for SIBO. This is thought to be because some risk factors for SIBO like slowed motility and altered stomach acid production can occur either as a result of IBD or its treatment.

 

Similarly, in conditions like celiac disease and functional dyspepsia rates of SIBO are higher when compared to healthy controls. As with IBD some of these disorders can overlap and occur together due to shared underlying risk factors such as altered motility.

 

 

 

How FoodMarble Can Help

The FoodMarble AIRE and AIRE 2 with their companion app have been designed to help you get to the bottom of your digestive woes. You can start by recording your symptoms using the FoodMarble app. Symptoms common in SIBO include bloating, abdominal pain, belching, nausea and diarrhoea.

 

You can also track your diet using our app and food library. The food library shows you the FODMAP content in a wide variety of everyday foods. If you experience SIBO associated symptoms soon after eating starchy or high FODMAP foods or if you find avoiding high FODMAP foods provides relief it may be worth asking your doctor about a SIBO test.

 

If you have already been diagnosed with SIBO, you may be undergoing dietary management as part of your treatment. The FoodMarble app can help you identify high FODMAP foods as well as providing lots of easy, nutritious low FODMAP recipes.

 

If you are living in the US and suspect you have SIBO you can ask your doctor about using our new FoodMarble MedAIRE to test for SIBO at home (Note: this clinical version of the FoodMarble AIRE is currently only available in the US).

 

It is important that if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms on a long-term basis or if you suspect you have SIBO that you seek the help of a medical professional. You can use your FoodMarble device and app to aid your dietary management of symptoms and monitor your fermentation levels. A diagnosis of SIBO can only be made by a qualified healthcare professional.

 

The Takeaway

SIBO is too many of the wrong bacteria in the wrong place. It is an underdiagnosed condition that is associated with a range of digestive disorders. You can use your FoodMarble device and app to track your symptoms and diet. If your symptoms are consistent with SIBO and if avoiding high FODMAP foods provides relief, ask your doctor about getting a test. SIBO is a complex condition and successful treatment often requires a holistic approach that deals with the existing overgrowth, dietary management and if possible, establishing the root cause.

 

References

  1. The Gut Microbiome and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. William Chey.
  2. Microbiome and its role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Mark Pimentel, Anthony Lembo.
  3. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Irritable Bowel Syndrome – An Update. Will Takakura, Mark Pimentel.

Barry McBride

MSc, Clinical Development Associate

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