SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, results when you have an excess of bacteria in your small intestine. Until recently, SIBO was thought to be a mythical health condition. But today, research has proven that it’s a real thing. In fact, a whopping 80% of people who are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are also said to have SIBO. However, SIBO does share many of the same symptoms as IBS, which makes it tricky to diagnose.
SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small bowel. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel (the mucosa). SIBO is frequently implicated as the cause of chronic diarrhea and malabsorption. Patients with SIBO may also suffer from unintentional weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and osteoporosis
The hydrogen breath test is the most common and accurate SIBO testing method. The hydrogen breath test detects two gases (hydrogen and methane) in your breath. These gases aren’t produced by humans, but bacteria in the small intestine as they ferment the sugar from carbohydrates. These gases are released into the blood, sent to the lungs, and exhaled through the breath, which is why a breath test can detect SIBO
Some Symptoms to Consider
- Abdominal cramping
- Acid reflux/heartburn
- Skin issues: acne, psoriasis, eczema
Many of these symptoms overlap with other digestive conditions like IBS, which is why SIBO shouldn’t be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. The only way to be sure is by using a SIBO testing method.
It is very important that you tell your doctors about all the symptoms and disabilities you are experiencing and make sure your medical records include a diagnosis, prognosis, and complete description of your limitations that result from SIBO, including those mentioned above. Your medical records will be the primary source of information used in your case, and if you fail to mention any symptoms, limitations, or disabilities to your doctor, or if the doctor neglects to record them, they won’t be included. You should make sure your doctor records everything you tell him/her.
Many people suffer from multiple symptoms that make it impossible to work. SSA will determine if the combination of impairments is sufficiently disabling to keep you from returning to work.