I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about how to test for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or SIFO (small intestine fungal overgrowth). So to complement my previous video on SIBO and SIFO, this post is a deeper dive into testing options for SIBO and SIFO.
Symptoms of SIBO and SIFO
There are a few symptoms that might make you think about testing for SIBO or SIFO.
- Severe abdominal bloating. This is especially true if the bloating is in the upper abdomen or through the entire abdomen. Bloating just in the lower abdomen more likely means there is an issue with the large intestine.
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Belching or indigestion
If you see any of the classic symptoms of SIBO or SIFO, there are a few options for testing:
- Breath test. This is the most typical recommendation from many providers. You can order the Genova Diagnostics breath test online through mymedlab.com. But it is somewhat expensive, and it can be difficult to convince your child to drink the carbohydrate liquid necessary to begin the test and then blow into the sample bag. So I don’t often order this test.
- Stool test. My preferred stool test is GI Map.
- Organic Acid Test (OAT).
The stool test and OAT test for many markers (more bang for your buck!), including indicators of SIBO and SIFO. But they are not completely diagnostic, and won’t indicate what type of SIBO or SIFO is present. Still, I prefer these tests because of their versatility.
A Non-Testing Option When Symptoms are Very Clear
Many times when symptoms are clear in a patient, I won’t start with a test. Instead, knowing that many people have very imbalanced GI systems, I will recommend a general gut-balancing protocol. One of my favorites is put together by Microbiome Labs.
To make things even easier for you, I’ve put together my own SIBO/SIFO supplement protocol, which is available here. This helps to alleviate common root causes of SIBO and SIFO, such as H. pylori infection in the stomach and poor intestinal motility.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
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