Is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth related to IBS?

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William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can cause symptoms that are similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients who report abdominal bloating/distention, diarrhea and/or flatulence after meals. Most patients who have bacterial overgrowth have a disorder or disease of the small intestine, such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease), a history of previous intestinal surgery or partial obstruction (blockage). But occasionally, bacterial overgrowth can mimic or worsen IBS, even though there is no structural or disease state present. Medical testing for bacterial overgrowth is available and the condition is treatable with antibiotics.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.