LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common diagnosis in gastroenterology with a prevalence rate in the general population of about 30 per cent. The symptoms of this disorder include bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently tested their hypothesis that IBS may be related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). They tested 202 IBS patients for SIBO using the lactulose hydrogen breath test and found that 157 (78 per cent) of them indeed had an overgrowth. The 157 patients were given a 10-day course of antibiotics (neomycin, ciprofloxacin, flagyl or doxycyline) after which a random sample of 47 patients was recalled for testing. Twenty-five of these patients had achieved complete eradication of their SIBO and reported significant reductions in their symptoms. Almost half of the 25 patients were deemed to be completely free of IBS. No difference was noted in the group where SIBO eradication had been unsuccessful. The researchers conclude that eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth will eliminate IBS in 48 per cent of patients.
Pimentel, Mark, et al. Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol. 95, December 2000, pp. 3503-06