Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine is thought to be a condition that may be present for years without causing obvious symptoms. A condition that is not recognized in conventional medicine, small intestine bacterial overgrowth is associated with chronic digestive problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. People may be told they have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
For instance, a study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California examined 202 people who met the diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome and gave them a test for bacterial overgrowth called the lactulose hydrogen test.
Researchers found that 157 of the 202 people (78 percent) had bacterial overgrowth. When the unwanted intestinal bacteria were eradicated, symptoms of IBS improved in 48 percent of the subjects, particularly diarrhea and abdominal pain.
It's not just people with IBS-like symptoms that have bacterial overgrowth. Non-digestive symptoms such as a lack of energy may be the primary concern. Some alternative medicine practitioners believe that it can be involved in chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, allergies, arthritis, lupus, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Bacteria in the small intestine may result in impaired absorption of nutrients. Bacteria may lead to fat malabsorption through a process called bile acid deconjugation. Carbohydrate absorption may be affected and result in carbohydrate fermentation in the intestines and gas, bloating, pain, mucus in stools, foul-smelling stools and gas, and diarrhea. According to alternative medicine practitioners, sweets and starchy foods cause the worst symptoms.
Toxic metabolic substances produced by the bacteria may injure intestinal cells and impair absorption, resulting in nutrient deficiencies, food allergies and intolerances, and impaired digestive enzyme activity.
CONTINUE READING ON NEXT PAGE