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Is There a Difference Between IBS and SIBO?

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IBS and SIBO are separate medical conditions, but they commonly coexist. In fact, up to 80%

of IBS patients may also have SIBO. SIBO and IBS can also be connected and share many

similar symptoms. In some cases, SIBO can actually be a result of IBS. IBS and SIBO may be

quite similar and even overlap at times; however, they require two different types of testing to

diagnose each condition properly.

What Is SIBO?

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) happens when bacteria that is usually found in the

large intestine or elsewhere in the body starts to grow in the small intestine. This results in the

improper breakdown of certain foods. When there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small

intestine, the normal balance in the gut microbiome is significantly disrupted, causing the

symptoms of SIBO.

What Are the Symptoms of SIBO?

The most commonly reported symptom reported by patients is bloating, especially after eating.

Other symptoms include:

  • Bloating

  • Persistent abdominal pain

  • Gas

  • Diarrhea

SIBO can be treated with certain antibiotics and dietary changes; however, it’s important to start

your path to treatment with a clear diagnosis.

How Do You Test for SIBO?

The most common way to test for indications of SIBO is through a breath test. Bacteria in your

intestine consume sugars and produce gases that are released through your breath. With a

breath test like trio-smart®, hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide can be measured in the

breath, offering a more complete picture of your gut health. trio-smart is the only breath test

available that can measure all three of the primary fermented gases in the microbiome.

While healthy levels of all three gases can be present in the gut microbiome, abnormal levels

can indicate a condition, like SIBO, and provide valuable insight into proper treatment. The only

test available to measure all three gases found in your microbiome is called trio-smart®.

Learn more about breath testing with trio-smart here.

What Is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disease that develops in your large intestine, many times as

a result of an organic infection you may or may not remember, like food poisoning.

IBS can develop into an autoimmunity. There is a toxin called CdtB that is released during food

poisoning. CdtB looks just like a protein in your gut called vinculin. The CdtB antibody (anti-

CdtB) tricks the body into making antibodies for the vinculin called anti-vinculin. This results in

an autoimmunity that causes damage to the nerves in the gut and causes your IBS symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of IBS?

IBS shares many symptoms of SIBO, often masquerading as each other.

Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea, or a mix of diarrhea and constipation

  • Persistent abdominal pain

  • Gas

  • Bloating

How Do You Test for IBS?

IBS used to be a diagnosis of exclusion; however, post-infectious IBS (IBS caused by food

poisoning) can be diagnosed with an antibody blood test. The blood test measures two

antibodies, anti-CdtB and anti-vinculin, and if either antibody is elevated, IBS can be ruled in.

The only licensed antibody blood test for IBS is called ibs-smart®.

Learn more about antibody testing for IBS with ibs-smart here.


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