Many IBS sufferers spend years trying different remedies involving diet and lifestyle, only to find that just some of their symptoms are managed, but not all. Find out what a new study in 2023 revealed about the link between SIBO and IBS, and how it will change IBS diagnosis for many doctors going forward.
Categories of IBS Symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastro-intestinal disorder that affects 10-15% of the population. Symptoms include abdominal cramping, pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. Categories of IBS include IBS-D when diarrhea is predominant, and IBD-C is used when constipation is significant, or mixed when both are present.
Not much has historically been known about the cause of IBS. It was considered to have both psychological and dietary causes that could be managed with changes that included avoiding food triggers and managing stressful situations.
When Diet and Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough to Help IBS
Managing the symptoms of IBS with diet and lifestyle alone does not always work. Although many see some improvement or even complete resolution of symptoms when they eliminate certain foods from their diet and improve how they manage stress, many have persistent symptoms despite these changes. My own experience with IBS-D was that eliminating dairy products and deep breathing exercises during stressful situations improved my symptoms, but those measures weren’t always enough for me. There were times that the abdominal pain and bloating was so severe that I would have to leave work after eating only an apple in the afternoon. Peppermint capsules did not alleviate the pain enough for me to continue working.
Over many years of researching the cause and treatment of IBS and using probiotics and herbal remedies and powders known to heal intestinal tissue, one symptom still persisted for me. I would occasionally get abdominal bloating after eating a meal. It was so bad at times that my husband would ask me if I swallowed a basketball.
SIBO Breath Test Can Shed Light for IBS Sufferers
Approximately eight years ago, I heard a lecture on Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) and started to incorporate treatment for it into my practice. At the time there was only one laboratory that offered testing, so I immediately started using the SIBO breath test and finding it present in many of my most challenging IBS patient cases. For many, it was the last piece of the puzzle that solved long-standing IBS, including mine.
SIBO is the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. A small amount of bacterial overgrowth is normal but excessive growth can cause many IBS-like symptoms. In addition, SIBO can lead to other health issues associated with malabsorption of nutrients including fatigue, brain fog, restless leg syndrome, chronic iron deficiency, and more.
Related Read: New Research on the Cause of SIBO
The Link Discovered Between SIBO and IBS
A study published in March of 2023 establishes a significant link between SIBO and IBS. The study included 160 patients and showed a strong association between IBS-D and SIBO. In addition, those with severe IBS and SIBO had poorer quality of life indicators, including anxiety and depression. This study proves that an underlying cause that should considered in all IBS cases is SIBO. It also shows that testing for SIBO can be an important tool that helps many overcome IBS.
SIBO or IBS? The More Information the Better
If you experience IBS it is a good idea to take the SIBO breath test. NatureMed offers SIBO testing and treatment in addition to treatment for most other gastro-intestinal related conditions.