Small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO) occurs when there is a build-up of too much bacteria in the small bowel.
The Small Intestines
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SBBO is often caused by an abnormality in the small bowel. Food is not able to flow properly though the intestines. Conditions that may cause this include:
Examples of conditions that may increase the risk of SBBO include:
Other risk factors include:
Any condition that affects how food moves through the small bowel may increase the risk of SBBO.
Not all patients with SBBO will have symptoms. But symptoms may include:
SBBO can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms may be similar to other conditions. Your doctor will:
The goals are to:
Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat SBBO. Usually treatment is temporary. But, in some cases, you may need to take antibiotics for a longer period.
To make sure that you get the proper nutrients, you may need to:
In some cases, tube feeding is needed with a special formula.
For severe cases, surgery may be needed. This is done to correct an abnormality in the small bowel.
American Gastroenterological Association
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
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Last reviewed June 2012 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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