SIBO: Everything you need to know

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you looking to find out more about SIBO?

If so, you are in the right place.

Today, I will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of SIBO.

In This Article:

Let’s start by describing what SIBO is.

What is SIBO?

SIBO, or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, occurs when bacteria become overgrown in the small intestine.

Most bacteria in your intestine reside in the lining of the large intestine.

SIBO develops when the bacteria from the large intestine overgrow into the small intestine.

This overgrowth occurs when the motility in the gut slows down, allowing the bacteria in the large intestines to migrate upwards into the small intestines.

Let’s examine now what causes a slowing of gut motility.

What Are The Causes Of Slow Gut Motility?

There are

  1. Intestinal wall nerve damage, for example, from diabetes mellitus and scleroderma.
  2. Intestinal wall scarring from surgery or Crohn’s disease.
  3. Diverticulitis is tiny pouches that can form in the wall of the small intestine.
  4. Medications such as antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids.
  5. Intestinal inflammation from a diet high in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and alcohol.
  6. Chronic stress, such as unhappiness with your current employment or relationship.
  7. Past emotional trauma, in particular childhood trauma.
  8. Past physical trauma, such as a concussion.

Let’s now look at the symptoms of SIBO, which I will separate into Gastrointestinal and Extra – Gastrointestinal symptoms.

Symptoms Of SIBO

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

  1. Abdominal bloating
  2. Belching or burping
  3. Flatulence
  4. Abdominal pain or cramps
  5. Constipation and or Diarrhea.
  6. Heartburn
  7. Acid reflux
  8. Nausea

Extra-intestinal Symptoms

  1. Headaches
  2. Joint Pain
  3. Fatigue
  4. Eczema
  5. Rosacea
  6. Asthma
  7. Anxiety or Depression
  8. Weight Loss

Let’s now look at the signs of SIBO.

The Signs Of SIBO

The signs of SIBO that I look for include the following:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies such as B12 and Iron do not resolve with supplementation.
  • Hypervitulant nervous system.
  • Food Sensitivities and intolerances.
  • A Fatty Liver

What Causes These Symptoms and Signs Of SIBO?

The bacteria in the gut feed on FODMAPS or fermentable parts of food.

When they digest these foods, they produce gases, mainly hydrogen and methane.

The gases can easily pass through the rectum when this process happens in the large intestine.

When bacteria feed in the small intestine, the gases become trapped, leading to inflammation.

The inflammation in the gut lead to the following:

  • A leaky Gut leads to food sensitivities and potential autoimmune issues.
  • Excess Histamine in the gut and in the body.
  • Poor nutrient absorption, such as B12, Iron and Vitamin D.
  • Reduced production of digestive enzymes and bile.

Let’s now look at how to diagnose SIBO.

How To Diagnose For SIBO

The scientific gold standard test for testing SIBO is a lactulose breath test.

A lactulose breath test measures the amount of hydrogen and methane gases detected in the small intestine.

These gases are produced by bacteria when they digest FODMAPs.

FODMAPs are fermentable parts of gluten, lactose, legumes, some fruits, nuts and vegetables.

In Canada, you can obtain a lactulose SIBO breath test through SIBO Canada.

In my practice, I rarely use a breath test to diagnose SIBO. Rather I rely on the presenting symptoms and muscle response testing.

Treatment Of SIBO

My treatment for SIBO is a stepwise approach.

Step 1 – Reduce Inflammation and Symptoms

To help temporarily to reduce inflammation in the small intestines and reduce symptoms, I recommend following a Low Fodmap diet.

Step 2 – Reduce Bacteria In The Small Intestines

To help reduce bacteria in the small intestines, I initially recommend taking probiotics. I may include a combination of probiotics, including the following:

  • Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Blends.
  • Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast.
  • Soil-Based Blends, usually Bacillus species.

In some resitant cases, I may recommend taking anti-microbial herbs.

Step 3 – Increase Gut Motility

Increasing gut motility involves identifying and treating causes which may include a combination o the following:

  • Reducing gut inflammation.
  • Resolving current stressors.
  • Processing past emotional traumas.
  • Processing past physical traumas.
  • Releasing intestinal adhesions and scarring.
  • With the help of your Doctor, deprescribing medications that are affecting motility.

Step 4 – Repair

To help repair the gut lining of the small intestines I recommend continuing the low fodmap diet for up to 3-4 months after symptoms have resolved.

Now It’s Over To You

Do you suspect you suffer from SIBO?

Are you trying to increase your athletic performance?

What symptoms do you have?

Leave me a comment below.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help, I suggest you book a free functional medicine discovery session with me to determine whether my functional medicine approach fits your child’s needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.


  1. I have been suffering gastric discomfort/pain for several years, but only when I lie down at night. My sleep is not-good to terrible. Symptoms include bloating and gas. The epicentre of the pain is just below my ribcage.
    A multitude of diagnostic medical examinations and tests found no anatomical abnormailites.
    Diet definitely plays a signficant role. The condition is worsened by: large meal in the evening, esp meat; lentils, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and my former friend, alcohol (esp beer).

    My request at this time a test for SIBO. Please advise availability.
    Thanks, Joe

    1. Hi Joe,
      Are you in Canada?

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