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Is SIBO the underlying cause of your health issues?

There has been a lot of new research lately surrounding small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (better known as SIBO) and how it can be a potential cause of symptoms in a variety of health conditions, such as IBS, FODMAP intolerance and fibromyalgia. Could SIBO be the missing puzzle piece that can help you to improve your health and wellbeing?

What is SIBO?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is defined as a condition where there is an excessive number of bacteria present within the small intestine. SIBO occurs when bacteria that would normally be in other parts of the gut, migrate and take residence in our small intestine (where they should not be) and start to produce gases (methane and/or hydrogen) after we consume certain fermentable carbohydrates, commonly found in FODMAP containing foods.

People with SIBO generally present with digestive complaints, however symptoms can vary in presentation and severity.

Typical SIBO digestive symptoms:

  • Bloating

  • Gas

  • Flatulence

  • Burping/acid reflux

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Food intolerances/allergies

  • Malabsorption – leading to nutritional deficiencies

Additional symptoms that SIBO can cause:

  • Skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, acne rosacea, etc.)

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Fatigue, brain fog

  • Depression and/or anxiety

  • Weight gain/weight loss

  • Body/joint pain

  • Bladder pain

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition often characterised by bloating, changes in bowel habits and abdominal discomfort.

As IBS symptoms overlap and often mimic those of SIBO, it is important to question whether SIBO could be playing a role in your IBS.

Studies have shown that up to 78% of people who have been diagnosed with IBS actually have SIBO. To better manage your diagnosis and symptoms it might be worth investigating whether or not SIBO is playing a role in your IBS.

It is important to note that there is not one cause of IBS - each individual will have their own unique factors, including emotional stress, diet, dysbiosis, infections, etc.


Fibromyalgia refers to a group of symptoms marked by widespread pain and muscle stiffness. Approximately 73% of patients will also experience digestive symptoms such as changes in bowel motions, bloating and abdominal pain. It is important to note that just like SIBO this condition manifests differently in each individual.

A study in 2004 showed 100% of patients with fibromyalgia had SIBO and once treated their symptoms were significantly improved. This is quite significant research. As fibromyalgia is a complex condition to treat, having a treatment avenue of testing for and treating SIBO (if indicated) can offer support to many fibromyalgia patients.

There are multiple factors that need to be considered when treating fibromyalgia, meaning treating SIBO isn’t always a silver bullet for everyone. Fibromyalgia responds well to an array of therapeutic diets, supplements, herbal medicine and lifestyle changes.

How can I find out if I have SIBO?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and would like to be tested for SIBO, a simple breath test can be done through your practitioner. Treatment will then be tailored to your specific results. This will usually include diet therapy, herbal medicine and supplements.

There is more and more research coming out in relation to SIBO and how it might be driving or aggravating health conditions. If you would like support with finding out the root cause of your health, please get in touch.

Jess is available for consultations Mondays and Wednesdays. To book your appointment with Jess click HERE


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