Differentiating between the causes and risk factors of SIBO is difficult. This is primarily because there is quite likely more than one contributing factor. Many people find that eradicating what they initially believe to be the cause may work temporarily but then find the condition returns. This may be for several reasons, and, to be truthful, since no one really understands what causes SIBO then that is quite likely why it is proving to find the definitive cure.
Illnesses Associated with SIBO
There are numerous illnesses associated with SIBO, which in contemporary medicine, is quite a handy and often used word. However in reality it means very little. All it refers to is that a symptom or condition may appear regularly in conjunction with an illness – it does not confirm if it is a cause or effect of the original condition.
The illnesses associated with SIBO include:
- Celiac Disease
- Crone’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Liver Failure
- Renal Failure
Possible Causes of SIBO
Below you will find list of things that can cause sibo:
Antibiotics deserve a special mention when it comes to SIBO. Not only are they seen to be a possible cause but they are also used as a treatment. Many people initially find that when antibiotics are used to treat SIBO, then their symptoms, at least for a short while, are relieved or disappear. The problem is that in many cases the patient finds that the symptoms reappear later – sometimes even worse than before.
Although many patients and clinicians are confounded by this problem, they would do well to upgrade skills and knowledge on the subject of biofilms. Biofilms have been proven to exist in around 60% of cases of chronic infection and inflammation and provide a more than substantial explanation of why SIBO is difficult to resolve permanently.
Biofilms, if you haven’t heard about them yet, are communities of microorganisms including numerous strains of bacteria and yeasts. They live together, communicate, and are protected by a polysaccharide matrix. If you were wondering what this matrix actually looks like you have to go no further than the plaque on your teeth or the water bowl of your pet because biofilms are the slime or film which accumulates. It has been shown that although antibiotics do kill single strain free floating bacteria quite easily, it is a different matter when it comes to biofilms. Not only is it believed antibiotics have difficultly penetrating the biofilm but even if they do it is unlikely they will kill all the offenders. This is why, when the pathogens left behind have had time to reestablish, that illnesses reoccur.
So for those of you wondering why antibiotics haven’t cleared up your SIBO permanently – you now have a likely answer.
Some antibiotics are also quite possibly causing SIBO. Since many kill bacteria indiscriminately they can alter the microbiota balance within the gut. This can result in overgrowth of otherwise non-beneficial bacteria.
Other possible causes of SIBO are considered to be:
Antacids or Proton pump inhibitors
The reason for this is that drugs which suppress stomach acid might not always be given for the right reasons. Most people, including myself at one time, believed that indigestion results only from high stomach acid. This is simply not true. It is a modern myth and, sadly, one that most doctors also believe. This is the reason they have no problem in prescribing medications which make the stomach acid either more alkaline or, more dangerously, stop it being produced altogether. Indigestion can actually arise from low (more alkaline) stomach acid just as often as it arises from an acid stomach. When stomach acid is alkaline, not only is it not as proficient at degrading food but many other digestive processes fail to be triggered. The overall result of this is that digestion starts to fail at the first hurdle and a dysbiotic situation can occur. The full implications from alkaline stomach acid are basically unknown – simply because science is not investigating the problem to any great degree.
Malfunctioning Ileocecal Valve
The ileocecal value is situated between the lower part of the small intestine and the top of the large intestine (bowel or colon). This is the valve that normally lets waste through into the bowel but closes to ensure it can’t travel back up. In cases of SIBO there is usually a high count of bacteria in the small intestine which would normally reside in the large intestine, so it has been theorized that the ileocecal valve is malfunctioning in some way and allowing bacteria back up into the small intestine.
The intestine moves the contents along by a ripple effect. Many people who have SIBO have a disruption to this movement in that the intestine moves more quickly or slowly than it should. This is said to be a significant causation of SIBO. Causes of motility disruption include complications arising from gastric bypass surgery, alcohol and obstructions. Again however it would seem that in most cases there is no proof of causation but, again, only an association or increase of the risk for contracting the illness.
Many, many other conditions are listed as being ‘risk factors’ for SIBO. Again this means little or nothing apart from the fact that people suffering from any one of a long list of diseases may likely also suffer from SIBO. These include:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Liver cirrhosis
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Lyme Disease
- Lactose Intolerance
Despite many internet articles and even research studies including the word ’causes’ in their title, very few actually provide information relating to definite evidence of causation. The words association and risk factors certainly predominate with regard to SIBO rather than direct cause and effect. However if patients are suffering from any of the above illnesses it is safe to say that they should get checked out for SIBO.