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Do I Have SIBO?: How to Find Out

May 17, 2024

Are you experiencing bloating, gas, and abdominal pain? These symptoms might be more than just an occasional inconvenience. They could be signs of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO occurs when there is an abnormal increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine, leading to various digestive issues. Here’s how you can find out if you have SIBO:

What is SIBO?

SIBO is a condition where bacteria that normally grow in the colon start to grow in the small intestine. This can lead to malabsorption of nutrients and the production of gasses that cause bloating and discomfort.

Note: SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth) can also occur on its own or in conjunction with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. For the rest of this article, we use the term SIBO to cover both SIBO and SIFO.


  • Bloating, especially after meals
  • Gas, which can be foul-smelling
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Diarrhea or constipation (or alternating between the two)
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients

Self-Tests for SIBO

While not definitive, these tests can give you an indication of whether you might have SIBO:

  1. Breath testing: there may be some kits available for purchase online independent of a medical provider. However, in our experience, these kits can’t use lactulose (the gold standard) because lactulose requires a prescription. These kits often use an interior carbohydrate/sugar product. So while such kits could be used to detect SIBO, they are not the gold standard.
  2. Symptom Journal: Keep track of your symptoms, especially after eating certain foods. If you notice a pattern of bloating, gas, and other symptoms, it could indicate SIBO. It can even happen after eating typically very healthy foods (like those high in fiber).  
  3. Elimination Diet: Some people find relief from SIBO symptoms by following a low-FODMAP diet, which reduces the types of carbohydrates that bacteria feed on. This is for symptom reduction and is not a treatment of SIBO.

Testing for SIBO Through a Functional Medicine Provider

If you suspect you have SIBO, it’s important to consult with a Functional Medicine provider. They can perform more comprehensive testing, such as:

  • Hydrogen and Methane Breath Test: This is the most common test for SIBO. You’ll be asked to drink a solution containing a sugar called lactulose. If bacteria in your small intestine are fermenting the sugar, they’ll produce hydrogen and/or methane, which can be detected in your breath.
  • Comprehensive Stool Analysis: This test can identify imbalances in gut bacteria and other digestive markers. Even overgrowth of h. pylori in the stomach can contribute to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.
  • Organic Acids Test: This urine test can detect bacterial overgrowth byproducts in your body.
  • Blood Tests: Certain blood markers can indicate inflammation or malabsorption, which are more common in SIBO patients.

If you suspect you have SIBO, don’t ignore your symptoms. Consult with a functional medicine provider to get the right diagnosis and treatment plan for you.

Nourish House Calls provides Functional Medicine services to patients in Illinois, Florida, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In-person house calls are available in Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Westmont, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, La Grange, Western Springs, Burr Ridge, and surrounding areas. Telemedicine is available both inside and outside of Illinois, including Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Portland.

If you would like to learn more about how Nourish House Calls can help diagnose and treat GI issues like SIBO, click here to schedule a free, 15-minute discovery call.

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