Small Intestinal Bacterial/Fungal Overgrowth (SIBO) Treatment in Baltimore

Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Gastroenterologists at Mercy provide focused expertise for a variety of digestive health issues. Small intestinal bacterial/fungal overgrowth, a serious condition that may cause pain and diarrhea, can be treated at Mercy’s Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease.

About the Condition

Small intestinal bacterial/fungal overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there is an abnormal increase or excess bacteria in the small intestine. This condition is also referred to as blind loop syndrome. SIBO is commonly the result of surgery or a disease that slows the passage of food and waste products in the digestive tract. The excess bacteria will often cause diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of SIBO can include:

  • Bloating
  • Increased passing of gas (flatulence)
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

In extreme situations, weight loss and anemia may be experienced.

SIBO can be diagnosed with a lactulose breath test or small intestine aspirate and fluid culture to check for bacteria overgrowth, poor fat absorption or other problems related to symptoms that are present.

A lactulose breath test is a noninvasive test measuring the amount of hydrogen exhaled after drinking a specific glucose drink.

The small intestine aspirate and fluid culture is the “gold standard” test for bacterial overgrowth. For this test, an endoscope is passed through the throat into the upper digestive tract and small intestine. Fluids are withdrawn and tested for bacteria.

In addition to these tests, your doctor may order a blood test, stool evaluation, X-ray, CT scan or MRI.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

While SIBO is often a complication of stomach (abdominal) surgery, this condition can also result from structural problems and some diseases. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct the problem, but antibiotics are the most common treatment. Our team may also provide nutritional support and a recommendation for a lactose-free diet when appropriate.


Meet Our Doctors: Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease
The Institute for Digestive Health & Liver Disease at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
Elinor Zhou, M.D.

Dr. Elinor Zhou is a gastroenterologist who provides care for general digestive disorders including colon cancer screening and prevention, GERD, dyspepsia, altered bowel habits and abdominal pain. 

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