How Does SIBO Damages your Gut or What it Does Inside your Body?

I heard if you have SIBO your gut is damaged. I’m battling SIBO since September of last year. I had an endoscopy done two weeks ago. My Gastrointestinal Surgeon said, he went as far as he could into the small bowel and he said all looked perfectly normal. He took the biopsy and the results came back normal. It says normal villi structure or architecture. I can’t remember how it was exactly worded. What is the damage then? I need to repeat some of my lab tests but last 2 months back my folate, Vit B12, iron, and ferritin were normal.

I just had some lab work done 2 weeks ago and all came back normal. I guess as I am coming more from conventional medicine world I’m trying to understand the Naturopathic Doctor approach and validate the claims they make. I’m not against functional medicine. On contrary, I’m very interested, but I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around all these ideas.

SIBO 7 Answers 2480 views 1

Answers ( 7 )


    Referring to leaky gut? That is separate from SIBO, but the two can occur at the same time. Your intestines can “look” normal, but still be overgrown with bacteria.
    I thought leaky gut was large intestine damage, not small. I was diagnosed with a blood test. My biopsy was normal. Side note, conventional medicine did not help me at all… Every test was “normal”!


      What I learned that SIBO is damaging gut lining or whatever it means. I had a positive hydrogen breath test in November and did a round of Xifaxan. Unfortunately, my gastrointestinal surgeon forgot to mention how important it is to follow the diet after the treatment.

      I’m assuming I relapsed. I came back to my GI and he wanted to do endoscopy but nothing else came up aside from bile reflux and gastritis and I wasn’t given any advice on aside from taking pantoprazole. I also got a prescription to repeat breath test, and this time I will do both hydrogen and methane.


    Proton pump inhibitors like pantoprazole can contribute to SIBO.
    A low acid environment in your gut can make it easier for the SIBO bacteria to grow out of control. Also, a biopsy would not show how well your MMC is functioning. If it is moving slowly or inefficiently, it could be leaving food sitting in the small intestine for longer than it should be giving those little SIBO bacterias a lot of extra time to snack and multiply.

    Lastly, I don’t think that a leaky gut can be diagnosed with a biopsy — at least, that was what a Gastrointestinal doctor told me 6 or 7 years ago. Things could have changed since then.


      It’s a catch 22 with PPI. I wasn’t taking any antacids lately, but as I attempted to treat myself with herbals, I ended having heartburn almost every day. Taking pantoprazole helped to quiet things down.


    Endoscopy only goes down a few feet into the small intestines & checks up to the duodenum. It doesn’t surprise me if the beginning of your SI looked normal. Considering the SI is ~20ft long… Endoscopy is only useful for SIBO diagnosis if it’s in the upper part of the small intestine.

    Also, endoscopy/colonoscopy cannot detect damage to gut lining, nor can they predict bacterial overgrowth as it is microscopic level. These test mostly check for ulcers, tumors, gastrointestinal tract bleeding.

    So how to know about leaky gut?
    Your food sensitivities, bloating, allergies (excessive) are markers that the gut is damaged. Sibo does cause damage to the gut as bacteria produces toxins, antibodies, but depending on how long you had the disease, the level of damage is proportional.

    Best answer

    I had pill endoscopy done too and it identified gastritis and duodenitis (duodenum is the first part of small intestines). I had endoscopy and colonoscopy 1.5 years ago and only had slight stomach irritation then. Both conditions are mild in my case but show the progression of inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms.


    I think conventional medicine markers are geared towards diagnosing outright disease whereas functional medicine is looking at optimal health and wellbeing. In that sense, it’s a good thing if your tests are coming back normal.

    But if you’re having symptoms and not feeling well then it’s not that you don’t ‘have’ anything, it’s just that conventional medicine doesn’t have a diagnosis and treatment for it. I don’t think conventional medicine recognizes leaky gut as a condition in and of itself anyways.

    Another thing is whether or not your gut is damaged; it never hurts just to eat real food, get proper rest, exercise, fresh air, and sun. It’s what your body needs to both to remain healthy and to heal. That’s how I try to think of it anyways


    My stool test showed high inflammation (high sIgA (Secretory Immunoglobulin A)), and my food sensitivity test showed an IgG (Immunoglobulin G) reaction to cow’s milk (and nothing else). Cut out all dairy and headaches, and stuffy nose went away. I can bring them back with ghee even. I would never have thought I had food sensitivities.

    I had stubborn weight gain/no loss despite complete fasting at times. My neuropsychiatric added EnteraGam and the weight started falling off while on Biphasic Diet phase 1.

    So I think there is something to the damaged gut stuff. Dr. Allison Siebecker has said that leaky gut can be caused by SIBO and she has seen it spontaneously resolve with the eradication of SIBO.


      I’m not sure I have leaky gut. I’m slowly growing into the decision to see a functional medicine doctor but what kind of scares me off is that first appointment runs about $400, then you have to add the costs of tests which can easily totally to $2000 if you think of comprehensive stool analysis, oat, etc.

      And when I heard some of the practitioners saying that they ask all the patients to do this and that tests, then I have a big question mark DO ALL PATIENTS need them?

      Not to mention that I fear to end with a bunch of supplements that will cost me $200-300 a month. I guess I’m kind of frustrated in the conventional world. Everyone looks only at its specialty and to go the holistic route you got to have big pockets. :-/


        I hear you. I found myself thinking that at some points that these providers must be working with a demographic that I do not belong to!
        The conventional Gastrointestinal, I waited three months to see, refuses to see or speak to me again until I have $4-5K to have an endoscopy+colonoscopy.

        I am very fortunate in that I have found an integrative nurse practitioner. She’s not on my insurance plan but her initial visit is $125, and she is very cost conscious, recommending tests with a bang for the buck, and talking with me about the value of the information we’d get.

        I wanted some blood inflammation markers checked, and she said, well I can tell you-you’re inflamed from your symptoms, but we won’t get actionable information about the cause from that test — as one example.

        I went through, so the breath test was $159. I think the cash pay price for the Genova stool test she recommended is $530 (my insurance EasyPay amount happened to be less). She uses a local lab Allermetrix for the food sensitivity, and the cash price is so much per test, and I made a list of all the things I wanted to be tested plus my spending limit, and she went through and weeded out things by the priority.

        She gave them (for example, had to do beef because she thought the EnteraGam might help based on my symptoms). EnteraGam is $80 per month, but she was able to give me a one month sample and recommend a mail order pharmacy.


          I agree with you Odessa Wisoky. I looked up a bunch of functional doc’s on Friday and started feeling really discouraged. Some of their websites are lovely and really make you feel hopeful that they are going to be ‘The One’ to finally help (a lot) and get to the root of things.

          Then you click on the services or fees tab and see that they casually charge $300 to $400 an hour! But it is prorated. OMG! I refuse to believe that it’s going to cost that much to get better.


    It’s my understanding that sometimes the endoscopy doesn’t reach the right place in the small intestine. The sibo breath test works better.


      They can’t see SIBO with an endoscopy, although I’ve seen a couple of people say it was diagnosed via a biopsy during endo procedure. I haven’t a hard time believing that too because I’ve had SIBO at least three years and nothing was found on my endo a year and a half ago. I’m just skeptical anyway.


        I had an endoscopy 8 years ago and only showed slight inflammation. I have had issues all this time and finally did a SIBO breath test last month and it is positive. Intolerant to so many things now due to 8 years of damage.

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