How to Test for SIBO

digestion sibo Oct 30, 2017

As more and more research pours out regarding the cause of IBS, advances in laboratory testing to diagnose SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) emerges.

How to Test for SIBO

The Hydrogen Breath Test

The hydrogen breath test has become the best and most convenient way to identify an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, commonly known as SIBO.

Studies suggest that as many as 50-75% of patients with IBS have SIBO, as seen by the hydrogen breath test.

This safe, non-invasive test measures both hydrogen and methane gas levels, which are produced by bacteria in the small intestine. Higher levels of these gases in the breath indicate increased bacterial concentrations and are associated with specific symptoms

  • Hydrogen gas production is associated with diarrhea type IBS
  • Methane gas production is associated with constipation type IBS
  • Production of both gases is associated with mixed type IBS

How SIBO Causes Symptoms of IBS

SIBO disrupts the mucosal lining of the small intestine, affecting digestion and absorption of foods. This results in many symptoms commonly found in IBS, including bloating, gas, abdominal pain and changes in stool frequency. In addition, SIBO has been linked to a number of health problems:

  • Altered intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”)
  • Anemia
  • Carbohydrate intolerance
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Malabsorption
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Osteoporosis

Who is this test good for?

This test is appropriate for those who have:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic or unexplained abdominal symptoms, especially gas and bloating
  • The inability to tolerate sweet or starchy foods, fiber, or probiotics
  • Any condition mentioned above

What if the test is positive?

Once bacterial overgrowth has been detected, intervention strategies involving diet, digestive support, probiotics and antimicrobials can be used to reduce bacterial overgrowth as outlined in our 12-Week Gut Restore Program.

Successful elimination of SIBO has been shown to reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in patients more effectively than many other treatments for IBS. A result we have found in approximately 85% of our clients.

The breath test can help to identify the underlying cause to your symptoms. Ask us how you can order your kit directly to your home.

In best of health,
The IBS Academy

1. Bae, Suhyun, Kwang Jae Lee, Young-Sang Kim, and Kyu-Nam Kim. “Determination of
Rifaximin Treatment Period According to Lactulose Breath Test Values in
Nonconstipated Irritable Bowel Syndrome Subjects.” Journal of Korean Medical Science
30, no. 6 (2015): 757. doi:10.3346/jkms.2015.30.6.757.
2. Esposito, I., A. De Leone, G. Di Gregorio, S. Giaquinto, L. De Magistris, A. Ferrieri, and G.
Riegler. “Breath Test for Differential Diagnosis between Small Intestinal Bacterial
Overgrowth and Irritable Bowel Disease: An Observation on Non-Absorbable
Antibiotics.” World Journal of Gastroenterology 13, no. 45 (2007): 6016.
3. Pimentel, M. “Normalization of Lactulose Breath Testing Correlates with Symptom
Improvement in Irritable Bowel Syndrome a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-
Controlled Study.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology 98, no. 2 (February 2003):
412–19. doi:10.1016/S0002-9270(02)05902- 6.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

You're Almost There!

Please provide a few details to get you set up for the most useful tips on how to keep your gut healthy!