SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is a condition in which abnormally large numbers of bacteria – the types that are normally found in the large intestine – are present in the small intestine. When not functioning properly, the migrating motor complex (MMC) fails to effectively sweep intestinal contents into the colon during periods of fasting. Once in the small intestine, these bacteria proliferate and feed off carbohydrates from food, creating fermentation gases, specifically methane and hydrogen. SIBO breath testing measures these gases.
SIBO can be a cause of many health problems, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and protein/fat malabsorption. Common conditions associated with SIBO are nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, malnutrition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Leaky Gut Syndrome, Acid Reflux, Rosacea, Fibromyalgia, GERD, etc.
Hydrogen/Methane breath test is a reliable and convenient method to help in assessing and classifying dysbiosis and SIBO.
BioHealth provides high-quality SIBO testing services:
What does This SIBO Breath Test Measure?
Hydrogen – Bacteria produce hydrogen through the process of fermentation of unabsorbed carbohydrates. A small amount of hydrogen is normally produced from limited amounts of unabsorbed carbohydrate reaching the colon. However, large amounts of hydrogen may be produced if there is malabsorption of carbohydrates and/or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, allowing a larger amount of hydrogen to reach the colon. The hydrogen produced by the bacteria is absorbed through the wall of the small and large intestines. The hydrogen-containing blood travels to the lungs, where the hydrogen is released and exhaled in the breath. Elevated hydrogen levels tend to be associated with IBS-D (diarrhea) and faster transit times.
Methane – About 15 percent to 30 percent of people have gut flora that contain Methanobrevibacter smithii, which converts four atoms of hydrogen into one molecule of methane. These subjects may not exhale much hydrogen in the breath test despite having SIBO or carbohydrate malabsorption, as excess hydrogen produced as a result of fermentation is converted into methane. Elevated methane levels tend to be associated with IBS-C (constipation) and slower transit times. Both hydrogen and methane are produced by bacteria and are not a normal product of human metabolism. Too much hydrogen, methane or both is a positive test for bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.