Just like the name sounds, SIBO is caused by an unusual amount of bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO is poorly understood, but the diagnosis of the condition is on the rise.


While the exact cause is unknown, SIBO may be caused by a miscommunication between the brain and intestine, a dysfunction in the intestinal muscle, or an abnormality, including an obstruction, in the intestine.


Gas, abdominal pain and bloating, and diarrhea are all symptoms of SIBO. Symptoms can fluctuate over time. The symptoms of IBS and SIBO are very similar. There is a growing understanding that the two conditions may be linked.

Screening and Diagnosis

There are two tests that can be used to indicate the possibility of a patient having SIBO. One is the hydrogen breath test. The other is to culture the bacteria found in the small intestine. Both tests can only indicate the probability of SIBO.


Antibiotics are effective in relieving symptoms, but unfortunately symptoms frequently return due to the underlying cause is still in tact. In patients with both SIBO and IBS, antibiotics and probiotics are both used. There is a need for continued research into SIBO.