SIBO Test Overview

What is SIBO?

SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. It’s when some bacteria that normally live in your lower intestine end up living in your small intestine. The small intestine isn’t set up for these bacteria, so they can cause a lot of problems. When bacteria digest food, they give off Hydrogen and Methane gasses. When these gasses are in your small intestine, they can cause a multitude of problems and symptoms. Learn more about SIBO.

What are some symptoms of SIBO?

Symptoms are different for everyone, but common ones include: bloating, belching, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn (reflux or GERD), nausea, food sensitivities, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, respiratory symptoms (such as asthma), mood symptoms (such as depression), brain symptoms (such as autism), eczema, steatorrhea (fatty stools), iron deficiency anemia, flatulence, abdominal pain, vitamin B12 deficiency, and others. Learn more about SIBO symptoms.

What is the SIBO test?

The Lactulose Breath Test for SIBO is designed to take a three-hour picture of how the bacteria in your intestinal system are functioning. When bacteria digest food, they produce gas. These gasses go through your intestinal walls into your bloodstream, end up in the lungs, and you breathe them out. The breath samples that are collected get tested for the levels of Hydrogen and Methane being exhaled. These levels tell your doctor where bacteria are fermenting in your intestinal system, and how much gas they are creating. This will enable your healthcare professionals to help you get rid of your bacteria and the symptoms they cause. Learn more about SIBO testing.

What is lactulose?

Lactulose is a manmade sugar that humans cannot digest, but SIBO bacteria love. Drinking lactulose will not cause the same “sugar-high” as sugars that humans can digest (like sucrose or fructose). Lactulose is also used as a laxative, so some people may experience effects of needing to use the restroom during the test. Sometimes people may feel the same kind of side effects as what would make them need to take a SIBO test in the first place (like bloating, gas), but some people do not experience any at all.

Is Lactulose the same as Lactose?

No. Lactose is the sugar from milk, while lactulose is a completely different chemical makeup that is manmade. The lactulose that comes in the SIBO kits is a liquid solution that should be mixed with 8ox of water prior to ingestion. This solution, however, does contain 1.2 grams of lactose in it, so people who are severely lactose intolerant should ask their doctor if this test is right for them.

How do I get a SIBO test?

SIBO tests have to be ordered from a doctor. Your doctor needs to be registered with us so we can make sure they have the appropriate certification to order SIBO tests, and also so we have a way to reach them to send results when they are done. If your doctor needs to register with us, they can visit our website and fill out the provider registration form to receive order forms and other information.

When your doctor sends in a SIBO Kit Ordering Form (which they will get after they register with us), patients then go to our online web payment portal to pay for the kit and enter shipping information.

I decided not to do this test. What do I do with the kit?

You are welcome to return your kit if you choose not to do the SIBO test. If the kit’s expiration date is three months or longer from when it is returned, you will receive a refund minus a shipping/handling fee. If the kit is unusable, you will receive a refund minus the material’s fee and the shipping/handling fee. If your kit was shipped to you from NUNM, it contains a label to ship it back to us using any USPS post box. If your kit came from another source, you can use either USPS or any other shipping company to send it to us. The address is listed on the Patient Record Form, (NUNM SIBO Lab, 3025 SW Corbett Ave, Portland, OR 97201)

What comes in the kit?

The SIBO kit comes in a box with 10 glass test tubes, 10 labels, 1 sample collection device (with attached blue bag and needle holder), 1 packet of lactulose, 2 bubble wrap packing bags, the instructions from the manufacturer, and the Patient Record form.

Are there other SIBO tests or tests for other sugar malabsorption?

The NUNM SIBO Lab only offers the SIBO test with the lactulose substrate.  Most providers prefer the lactulose solution as it will not be absorbed by the human body and can adequately check for SIBO bacteria the entire length of the Small Intestine.

There is a Glucose SIBO test – Glucose is absorbed in the first 3 feet of the Small Intestine, so the Glucose SIBO test is only able to truly diagnose SIBO in those first few feet. There are also other breath tests for sugar malabsorption including lactose, sucrose, and fructose.  These do not require a prescription and can be ordered through Quintron.