5 Early Signs of SIBO to Watch Out For | SiboSurvivor

5 Early Signs of SIBO to Watch Out For

by | Mar 31, 2023 | About SIBO

While a gastrointestinal upset isn’t uncommon from time to time, it can also become a serious cause for concern and could be a sign of SIBO, especially if you’re experiencing problems more than usual. Short for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, SIBO is a serious medication condition that affects the small intestine. It occurs when there’s a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. 

The food you eat mixes with digestive enzymes in the small intestine. The bloodstream then absorbs the nutrients and transports them throughout the rest of your body. When there are high levels of bacteria in the small intestine or small bowel, it can result in SIBO, and SIBO can lead to serious health complications, as your body isn’t able to properly absorb essential nutrients.

SIBO usually occurs when the passage of food and waste in the digestive tract is slowed, creating prime conditions for bacteria to thrive. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth often develops in patients who have had surgery in the abdominal region; however, other factors can cause this condition, including certain types of diseases, as well as structural abnormalities in the abdomen. If left untreated, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can lead to serious complications, such as malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, kidney stones, and osteoporosis, which is why being aware of the signs of SIBO is important so you can seek appropriate medical care. The following are five of the most common SIBO early signs.

Gas and Bloating

Gas and bloating are among the first – and most common – SIBO early signs. Abdominal distention (a protruding abdomen) can also occur. The gas and bloating are usually experienced soon after eating; typically within 30 minutes to an hour, as it usually takes that long for food to reach the small intestine.

When an overgrowth of bacteria occurs in the small intestine, the food you consume – particularly carbohydrates – can ferment. This fermentation produces gas, and the gas can get trapped in your gut, resulting in gas, bloating, bulging, and general pain and discomfort. The excess gas can also result in increased belching and flatulence as your body tries to pass it. It’s important to note, however, that excessive gas production can be attributed to several other factors other than SIBO. That being said, if you have been experiencing chronic gas and bloating, you should seek the advice of a medical professional to discover the reason and receive proper treatment.

Abdominal Pain and Discomfort

Another common sign that people who are suffering from SIBO experience is pain and discomfort in the abdominal region. When an excessive amount of bacteria grows and gets trapped within the small bowel, the delicate lining of this part of the digestive tract can become inflamed and irritated. As a result, pain and discomfort can occur.

Patients who are suffering from SIBO often describe the abdominal pain they experience as a cramping, aching feeling. Additionally, the pain doesn’t occur in a single location; rather, it can occur throughout different parts of the stomach. A feeling of fullness and/or pressure may also occur, which can add to the discomfort. In fact, the pain can become so intense that some SIBO patients end up seeking emergency treatment and may be diagnosed with functional abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain and discomfort are often experienced soon after eating, though they can also occur over the course of consuming a meal. Some individuals experience pain on a constant basis that ranges in intensity throughout the day. Again, it is important to note that there are several factors that can lead to pain and discomfort in the abdominal region; however, it can be a SIBO early sign, so it is important to seek medical care if you believe that you could be suffering from this condition.

Changes in Bowel Movements

While changes in bowel movements – notably, constipation and diarrhea – can occur for a number of reasons, patients who are afflicted with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth often experience these symptoms. There are several reasons why this condition can affect bowel movements. Most commonly, constipation and diarrhea occur because an overproduction of bacteria in the small intestine can alter the motility of and cause inflammation in the gut. Additionally, when the gut microbiome is unbalanced, bowel movements can be affected.

Individuals who are suffering from SIBO can experience long bouts of constipation or diarrhea, or they can fluctuate between these two bowel abnormalities. Again, as with all symptoms that are associated with SIBO, there are other factors that can affect bowel movements, including changes in hormone levels and even chronic stress. That being said, if you have developed unusual bowel movements that persist, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition is one of the most serious complications that can be associated with SIBO. When food enters the small intestine, it mixes with digestive juices. The nutrients are withdrawn from the food, absorbed by the bloodstream, and transported throughout the rest of the body. If there is an imbalance of gut bacteria, your body will not be able to properly absorb the nutrients from the food you consume, which can result in nutritional deficiencies.

The most common nutrients that patients with SIBO are deficient in include iron, calcium, and vitamin B12, as well as fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin E. Deficiencies of these vital nutrients can result in a number of potentially serious health complications, such as weakness, confusion, lethargy, and in the most severe case, the central nervous system can become damaged.

Fatigue and Brain Fog

As mentioned above, SIBO can lead to nutritional deficiencies. When your body is deficient in vital nutrients, a number of side effects can occur. Two prominent side effects that are associated with SIBO-related nutritional deficiencies include fatigue and brain fog.

When your body isn’t absorbing key nutrients, it isn’t receiving the energy that’s needed to thrive. This can result in feelings of fatigue, listlessness, and lethargy. Nutritional deficiencies can also damage the central nervous system, one of the most concerning complications associated with SIBO. Excessive bacteria in the small intestine can cause toxin production. The bloodstream can pick up the toxins and transport them throughout the body, including the central nervous system – including the brain. This can result in inflammation in the brain, which can lead to cognitive impairment that is often marked by brain fog. SIBO patients who experience brain fog also report concentration and memory impairment.

Seek Medical Treatment at the First Sign of SIBO

The overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can be painful and if left untreated, can lead to serious medical complications. If you are experiencing one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s important to seek prompt medical care. While there are several factors that can contribute to these symptoms, being checked for SIBO is highly recommended. The earlier this condition is diagnosed, the sooner you can receive proper medical care, and early intervention is critical for correcting and offsetting the side effects of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. 

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap