Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

We offer breath testing, in conjuction with Commonwealth Laboratories, using the substance called lactulose, for detection of bacterial overgrowth that is being recognized more and more as a significant factor in the mechanisms underlying the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS patients suffer from abdominal bloating and pain, irregular bowels habits, and often alternating diarrhea and constipation. There is a growing popularity in identifying bacterial overgrowth in patients with IBS symptoms and treating this overgrowth with special antibiotics that target this intestinal overgrowth of bacteria. Clinical studies have shown an improvement in subsets of IBS patients who have bacterial overgrowth. Naturally, those suffering from these symptoms should see their doctor or contact our office for a comprehensive evaluation.

Please give the office a call to arrange for a lactulose hydrogen-methane breath test. It is usually covered by most insurance companies, is non-invasive in nature, and may prove to be the answer to your needs. We are available to answer any questions you may have as well.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a serious digestive disturbance which can be treated effectively, but only if it is accurately diagnosed.

Typically, small amounts of bacteria are found in the small intestine. Occasionally, additional bacteria migrate from the large intestine into the small intestine, creating symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. As the symptoms are very similar to those associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), data from this test may assist physicians in evaluating IBS cases.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth can easily be diagnosed by testing patients' breath samples for levels of hydrogen, methane, or both. After ingesting a substrate packet, the patient produces breath samples every 20 minutes over a 3-hour period.

Samples are then mailed to Commonwealth Laboratories, Inc. Analysis of the samples yields data on production of the targeted gases as the digestive process proceeds. The graph produced using this data provides key indicators of the existence/ extent of SIBO. The graph is a clear and understandable tool that physicians may share with patients in reviewing their test results.

How to prepare for the SIBO Breath Testing?

There is a 24-hour preparation period before taking the test; the first 12 hours require a specific diet, and the last 12 hours require a complete fasting period; however, you may brush your teeth.

Can small intestinal bacterial overgrowth be treated?

Yes. Once bacterial overgrowth has been diagnosed, a health practitioner can use an appropriate antibiotic regimen to eradicate the bacteria, relieving the symptoms. Treatment can then begin on the underlying causes to keep overgrowth from recurring.

How the SIBO Breath Testing program works

  • The test is performed, in the physician's office or the patient's home
  • Breath samples are returned to Commonwealth Laboratories Inc. in the postage paid box.
  • The analytical results are faxed to the physician's office

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