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SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth


Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth,  also known as SIBO or simply bacterial overgrowth, is a condition that occurs when the small intestine has too much bacteria. The buildup of bacteria impedes the small intestine’s ability to absorb vital nutrients. Excess bacteria in the small intestine occurs when bacteria from the large intestine overflows into the small intestine, or when bacteria within the small intestine over-multiplies. SIBO is most likely to occur in women, older-aged individuals, and patients who suffer from other digestive illnesses.


SIBO symptoms mimic those associated with other digestive issues and may include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, indigestion, excess gas, unintentional weight loss and fatigue. Furthermore, individuals with SIBO may experience vitamin deficiencies and become malnourished due to the small intestine’s inability to properly absorb nutrients from the food it digests.


Numerous factors contribute to the development of SIBO including slow digestion movement, weakened immune system, abnormalities of the digestive tract, and interference with one of the several mechanisms the body employs to regulate bacteria, such as stomach acid and bile, digestive enzymes, mucus lining, and gut motility

SIBO can result from a number of conditions, but it often a complication of other digestive disorders such as Lactose Intolerance, Gastritis, Celiac disease, Diabetes, IBS or Gastric Bypass Surgery.

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GI doctors diagnose Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth using a Breath Hydrogen Test. Dr. Angela Merlo is an expert GI specialist and performs this test at her Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in New Jersey. This test measures the gases (primarily hydrogen and methane) released by bacteria as it breaks down and metabolizes the carbohydrates in your gut. By identifying the presence and concentration of certain gases, Dr. Merlo will be able to identify the presence and severity of bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine.

Learn more about Breath Hydrogen Tests >> 


Your GI specialist will curate a treatment plan aimed to restore the balance of bacteria in your small intestine. This may include dietary changes, supplements and antibiotics. In addition, your doctor will address the underlying causes of your SIBO.


If you suffer from digestive issues, including stomach pain, indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, or other GI-related symptoms, you may be suffering from Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. The best way to determine the cause of your symptoms and get you started on a treatment plan to restore your digestive health is by scheduling a consultation with Gastroenterologist, Dr. Angela Merlo, MD of The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center, located in Lawrenceville and Princeton, NJ. Dr. Merlo specializes in digestive health and has vast experience working with both adult and child patients to diagnose and treat bacterial overgrowth, as well as other gastrointestinal conditions. Contact Dr. Merlo online by filling out the form below or calling 609-896-0800 to schedule your consultation.


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