The SIBO breath test is a non-invasive test that detects bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO).
SIBO is a common condition that is often an underlying and contributing factor to symptoms of maldigestion and malabsorption including:
- abdominal pain
- irregular bowel motions
- nutrient deficiencies despite a healthy diet
Normally, there are minimal levels of bacteria residing in the small intestine. When there are high levels, the mucosal lining is disrupted, including the microvilli that facilitate absorption. As a result, this can inhibit nutrient absorption and lead to IBS, unexplained abdominal symptoms, gas and bloating, and an inability to tolerate sweet or starchy foods, fibre, or probiotic supplements.
Completing the SIBO breath test will reveal the presence or absence of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. If bacterial overgrowth is detected, intervention strategies involving diet, digestive support, probiotics and antimicrobials can be used to treat the condition. Eradicating the bacterial overgrowth has been shown to reduce bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain in patients more effectively than many other treatments for IBS.
It is important to note that bacterial overgrowth may manifest silently, without obvious signs and symptoms. Patients without clear symptoms of gastrointestinal distress may still benefit from testing, especially those with a history of chronic constipation, low stomach acid (including use of acid-blocking drugs), or maldigestion.
How does the SIBO test work?
The test measures two gases that are produced by bacteria in the intestine. These gases are hydrogen and methane. The breath sample is collected after ingestion of lactulose (a non-absorbed sugar consisting of fructose and glucose) on an empty stomach. In SIBO, the bacteria residing in the small intestine ferment the malabsorbed lactulose, resulting in elevated concentrations of exhaled hydrogen.
The SIBO breath test is suitable for anyone unless you have severe allergic reactions to lactulose or excessively high blood glucose level.
With every SIBO test you receive a comprehensive report explaining the results.
Book your free naturopathic assessment consult to assess if SIBO Testing is right for you.