How to recognise, target and eliminate SIBO for good!

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a bacteria that normally inhabit the colon. It can be found in the small intestine, in numbers large enough to cause symptoms.


It is estimated that over 80% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have SIBO and addressing it can make a huge difference to your symptoms.

The FODMAP diet tends to provide symptomatic relief for those with SIBO but it doesn’t address the underlying gut flora imbalance.

Other signs and symptoms of SIBO include:

  • bloating
  • belching
  • reflux
  • anaemia
  • B12 deficiency
  • food intolerances
  • abdominal pain
  • brain fog
  • chronic fatigue

It is also common in Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, rosacea and can be found after regular use of antibiotics or proton pump inhibitors.

How to diagnose SIBO

A diagnosis can be made with a breath test for hydrogen and methane. This can be ordered through a practitioner and is available by post for around £130. Your GP might be able to refer you for a similar test through the NHS.

A healthy salmon dinner

How to relieve symptoms

The FODMAP diet tends to provide symptomatic relief for those with SIBO but it doesn’t address the underlying gut flora imbalance. I have found that the paleo diet, GAPS or a low carb approach can also be quite effective.


Antibiotics can be used to eradicate the bacterial overgrowth, but they need to be followed up almost immediately with a gut restoration protocol to avoid the return of the bacteria.

More natural approaches to eradicate SIBO include using oregano extract and concentrated garlic, whilst following a low carbohydrate diet. Probiotics should be avoided initially as this can worsen symptoms.

Restore digestive function

After an initial period, some level of intervention is required to return digestive function to normal. Without this, it is possible that the problem could re-occur. Re-testing may be needed to confirm the overgrowth has been dealt with.

Further work will be required to strengthen the tissues of the gut wall, as well as replenishing the gut bacteria too.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Birmingham B13 & Altrincham WA15
Written by Sarah Hanratty
Birmingham B13 & Altrincham WA15

Sarah is a practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic, specialising in the link between gut function and mental well-being.

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