Current medical knowledge accepts that there is an overgrowth of certain bacteria within the digestive system which results in the gut problems more commonly associated with SIBO. Currently symptoms which are recognized as being attributable to SIBO include the ones below: However the implications of this overgrowth further than the common symptoms which are:
- Stomach pain
However the implications of this bacterial overgrowth and general disruption to the internal gut microflora can result in more broad ranging problems which, it would appear, arise not only from the effects of disruption to the intestinal bacteria, but also quite likely due to the initial causation. As yet there is no agreement relating to causation in medical circles but there are many hypotheses.
As we are already aware in cases of SIBO the bacterial balance within the digestive tract has become out of balance which is known as dysbiosis. This can result in:
- Pathogenic bacteria digesting nutrients and vitamins meant for the human body resulting in deficiencies
Nutrients and vitamins not being extracted from ingested foodstuffs causing deficiencies and their respective symptoms arising from it. Such symptoms can range from anemia to nerve damage.
- Damage to the tight junctions of the intestinal wall resulting in leaky gut syndrome, otherwise known as intestinal permeability. This allows food particles, toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. The body then begins an immune response against these ‘invaders’ and autoimmune conditions, of which there are around 80, can arise as a result.
- Because more toxins are entering the body the liver, whose job it is to clear these, this organ is put under increasing strain and problems can arise as a result.
Because the situation between a build up of bacteria in the digestive system involves myriad other illnesses, deficiencies and reactions, in many cases all that can currently be proven is an ‘association’ between one illness and the potential cause. However what many people do find is that they can improve their symptoms by including in their diet certain foodstuffs or supplements. Others find that excluding certain food types can help. However these are by no means universal to each patient and even for those who experience positive effects may find the symptoms return if they stop treatment or start eating normally again.
Neither of course can many symptoms or diseases be attributed to SIBO simply because of medical definitions. Once certain symptoms appear then it is likely that the name of the condition will be changed. For example a patient may be diagnosed with SIBO but if they start to develop joint pain then the diagnosis may be revised to fibromyalgia. It’s a little like being described as French if you live in France but then being described as Swiss once you step across the border. Rather than the condition being revised if symptoms develop into something outside of the definition, the definition, which is man-made, is adhered to.
By leaving SIBO untreated, you can, at best end up with chronic digestive issues which increase in frequency and intensity. Some other symptoms and conditions which appear to have associations with and, quite likely, have their foundations in SIBO, are:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Autoimmune Conditions – for example, rheumatoid arthritis.
- Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Food intolerances or allergies
- Crone’s disease
- Restless leg syndrome
No matter what the cause when the stomach and digestive system have been irritated and damaged over a long period of time, it has to be said that the implications of permanent injury becomes more likely and SIBO is no different. It is best not to leave the condition untreated and to try and resolve the problem as soon as possible.