A recent study has confirmed that IBS is caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Following the findings of the study, clinical trials have started using antibiotics to successfully treat IBS.
Scientists, who published their work in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, tested stool samples from patients with IBS-C and IBS-D for traces of bacteria. Over a third of IBS sufferers were found to have SIBO, a much greater amount than the 10% of the control group who were identified as having a bacterial overgrowth.
When the researchers looked specifically at people with diarrhea-prevalent IBS (IBS-D), they found that the majority (60%) had SIBO. The finding that IBS-D sufferers are six times more likely to have SIBO than people without IBS clearly points to the bacteria being responsible for IBS-D symptoms.
Mark Pimentel MD, who was involved in the IBS SIBO study, is leading clinical trials to treat IBS with antibiotics. The antibiotic used is rifaximin, which acts only in the gut. Patients treated with rifaximin have IBS symptom relief even after they stop taking the antibiotic – suggesting that rifaximin is effectively a cure for IBS for people with SIBO.
Research into treating IBS-D with rifaximin is ongoing. IBS-D.org is following the latest developments in anticipation of rifaximin being offered as an IBS-D treatment. Enter your email address to be kept up to date with the latest developments.