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FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • 23 December 2022
  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Why does SIBO cause uncomfortable symptoms & why does it come back?

  • In this blog we want to help you understand why SIBO causes uncomfortable or painful symptoms, as this is important in treating it. As well as this, we will explain why SIBO can often come back after treatment.

  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Why does SIBO cause uncomfortable symptoms & why does it come back?

  • In this blog we want to help you understand why SIBO causes uncomfortable or painful symptoms, as this is important in treating it. As well as this, we will explain why SIBO can often come back after treatment.

Why does SIBO cause constipation

SIBO patients can produce large amounts of both hydrogen and/or methane gas. Those who suffer from constipation often have higher methane levels. Methane is a gaso-transmitter, which means it can interact with our nerve cells and may slow down the movement of food (gut transit). Some SIBO patients produce mainly methane gas, a condition termed intestinal methanogen overgrowth (IMO)

 

Why does SIBO cause diarrhea?

Hydrogen-dominant SIBO, or people who produce more hydrogen gas, will often experience diarrhea as one of their main SIBO symptoms. This is because the bacteria present in our gut, and the byproducts they produce, can have an osmotic effect whereby they draw more water into the small intestine. This can cause injury to our gut mucosal barrier, or the protective lining of our gut, and can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies. 

 

Why does SIBO cause bloating

Bloating is a common SIBO symptom and is actually one of the most commonly reported complaints generally, with up to 30% of people dealing with abdominal bloating. SIBO can cause bloating due to the fermentation of starchy or hard-to-digest foods in the small intestine. Those with slow gut motility and those who suffer with constipation tend to experience more bloating. 

 

Why does SIBO cause weight loss?

The bacteria in the small intestine, when present in large enough numbers, can reduce the absorption of nutrients and the calories we get from our food which may lead to weight loss. Your healthcare provider can help you understand if nutritional supplementation is needed to avoid malnutrition and better manage body weight. 

 

Why does SIBO cause weight gain? 

Although weight loss is more commonly associated with SIBO, weight gain is a prevalent side effect amongst the SIBO population too. Generally this is seen with methane overgrowth, as methanogens (methane-producing bacteria) can incur a higher caloric intake from the food we consume, meaning that we absorb more calories than we normally would. As well as this, slower digestion and constipation as a result of methanogen overgrowth can lead to weight retention. An association between SIBO and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been established, which has also been attributed to slower metabolism and weight gain

 

Why does SIBO come back?

SIBO is treatable but can take some time, and the chance of recurrence is high if the underlying cause of SIBO is not addressed. Generally a treatment regimen will be prescribed by the doctor, however using SIBO breath testing to monitor treatment progress is vital in preventing relapse. As well as this, tailoring your diet for your personal tolerance levels is key in managing symptoms. 

As you can see, there are many factors that play into why SIBO can cause uncomfortable and painful symptoms, and understanding these factors is important in stopping SIBO from recurring. In our next blog we will share some snippets of information on who SIBO effects and who diagnoses and treats it.

Hannah Hilliard

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