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Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

In the complex ecosystem of our bodies, the gut plays a crucial role. It's home to trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These bacteria help us digest food, produce vitamins, and protect against harmful pathogens. But what happens when the balance of bacteria in our gut is disrupted? This can lead to a condition known as small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO.

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What is SIBO?
SIBO occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the overall bacterial population in the small intestine, particularly types of bacteria not commonly found in that part of the digestive tract. This overgrowth can interfere with our normal digestion and absorption of food and can lead to a variety of symptoms.

Symptoms and Diagnosis
The diagnosis of SIBO can be challenging as its symptoms often overlap with those of other gastrointestinal disorders, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and weight loss. However, breath tests are commonly used to diagnose SIBO. These tests measure the gases bacteria produce, such as hydrogen and methane. Patients are given a sugar solution to drink, and their breath is analyzed at regular intervals to measure the levels of these gases. If high levels are detected, it can indicate SIBO. However, it's important to note that these tests can sometimes give false positives and are not always definitive.

The treatment for SIBO often involves a combination of antibiotics to reduce bacterial overgrowth and dietary changes to help manage symptoms and prevent recurrence. However, it's important to note that there's no definitive treatment at this time, and management of SIBO often involves a comprehensive approach that includes medication, diet, and lifestyle changes.

Xifaxan and SIBO
Xifaxan (rifaximin) is an antibiotic that targets the gut. It reduces harmful bacteria in the gut to help rebalance the gut microbiome. Xifaxan is unique because it mostly stays in the intestine rather than getting absorbed into the bloodstream, which helps decrease side effects. Xifaxan is one of the top antibiotics used for the treatment of SIBO. A typical course of treatment involves taking 550 mg of Xifaxan three times per day for two weeks. This regimen has been shown to relieve SIBO symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and loose or watery stools.


However, it's important to note that while Xifaxan can reduce the bacterial overgrowth associated with SIBO, it does not necessarily eradicate it. This means that ongoing management, including dietary and lifestyle changes, may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of the condition. Despite these limitations, Xifaxan remains a valuable tool in the management of SIBO. It offers a targeted approach to reducing harmful bacteria in the gut, and for many patients, it can provide significant relief from symptoms.

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Center For Digestive Health & Nutrition

725 Cherrington Parkway • Moon Township, PA 15108 412.262.1000 • • IG: @thedigestivetract

The Center for Digestive Health & Nutrition is a private medical practice comprised of experienced Gastroenterologists, Nurse Practitioners, and staff members dedicated to preventing and treating digestive disorders. Our physicians have been serving the needs of those in Western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas since 1977, having cared for tens of thousands of individuals with digestive problems. Our mission is to deliver high-quality gastroenterology services efficiently and cost-consciously. We realize the very sensitive nature of GI illness and understand the necessity to provide our services in an environment that stresses patient privacy and confidentiality and where patient satisfaction is the goal. Appointments can be conveniently scheduled online via our website above. Learn more about digestive issues on Instagram @thedigestivetract

DISCLAIMER : The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice, and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as they may signify a serious illness or condition. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by a qualified doctor to exclude a serious condition.

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