SIBO is the accumulation of excessive amount of gut bacteria in the small intestine (at least 100,000 bacteria per ml of fluid). While bacterium naturally exist throughout the digestive tract, with highest concentrations of bacteria in the colon, a healthy individual should have relatively low levels of bacteria present in the small intestine. Any condition which impairs the normal transit or motion of the small intestine can increase the likelihood of getting SIBO, including lack of adequate stomach acid, damage to the intestine by toxins, or a decrease in the speed at which the small intestine transfers waste to the colon. In the U.S., some research studies have demonstrated that up to 80% of the IBS population, or 36 million individuals, suffer from SIBO.
The small bowel, also known as the small intestine, is the part of the gastrointestinal tract that connects the stomach with the colon. The main purpose of the small intestine is to digest and absorb food into the body. The small intestine is approximately 21 feet in length.
The Hydrogen and Methane Breath Test for SIBO is a non-invasive diagnostic tool to identify SIBO, and can be administered in the comfort of a patient’s own home. Patients are given a substrate solution to drink, which is a mixture of water and a carbohydrate substrate (lactulose or glucose). After drinking the substrate solution, the patient will collect a series of breath samples by simply breathing into a test tube using a straw. In a healthy individual, one would not expect to see any hydrogen or methane in the breath samples for approximately 90 minutes – 2 hours, the approximate time it would take for the substrate to travel to the small intestine to the colon where, in a healthy system, the substrate would be fed upon by bacteria, thus releasing the hydrogen and methane gas. After ingesting a substrate solution, the patient collects breath samples every 15 minutes over a 2 hour and 15 minute (135 minutes) period. During the hydrogen and methane breath test for SIBO, the presence of elevated levels of hydrogen or methane gas, or both, identified within 90 minutes of ingesting the substrate solution provides evidence of bacteria in the upper region of the digestive tract, i.e. at the level of the small intestine. This excessive build up bacteria is often diagnosed as SIBO. Our SIBO breath test can be administered in-office or in the comfort of the patient’s own home.
The implementation of breath testing has been a major improvement in patient care for our practice. Bloating is an extremely common and frustrating complaint from patients that we can now provide an answer for in many cases.
It can be challenging to diagnose IBS-D and malabsorption in busy clinical practice. Having an objective marker to diagnose and reassure the patient and provider is a great asset in my practice. It also help me to manage the condition by using appropriate treatment.
It can be challenging to diagnose malabsorption syndromes in clinical practice. Having an objective marker like a breath test can provide diagnostic reassurance to both the patient and provider.
Breath testing for SIBO has been hugely beneficial for my practice over the last 3 years. It allows me to help patients who have seen multiple doctors without finding the cause of their problems, and who continue to struggle with digestive dysfunction.
My preferred treatment for SIBO is changing patient's diet. I get a lot greater compliance, when I can show them the results of their breath test. Rarely have to use antibiotics, if I can get them to change what they eat.
Patients enjoy the flexibility to do the test on their own time and the instruction booklet and video are easy to follow. From a provider standpoint, we get results back in a timely manner and getting both hydrogen and methane results helps us tailor care appropriately.
Breath test is a simple and noninvasive way to diagnosed these clinical conditions. The Kits from Commonwealth Diagnostics are shipped to the patient and is very easy to use at home without going to medical office or hospital.
CDI has provided an invaluable test that I use both pre and post treatment (antibiotics and a diagnosis-specific nutrition protocol), and this has enabled my patients to find both answers and an action plan to resolve their long term symptoms.
No struggles with insurance companies to cover the cost of medications. The kits from Commonwealth Diagnostics are convenient. I don't have to delegate office staff to run the tests, and we just hand them the kits. It couldn't be easier.