man holding his chest with a pile of medications, indicating he needs the medications for acid reflux

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a common ailment with various causative factors. In some cases, it’s worthwhile investigating whether long term use of acid blockers could be the cause.

What is SIBO?

As the name implies, SIBO is a condition characterized by overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Ordinarily, the large intestine houses trillions of bacteria, and the small intestine is relatively devoid of bacteria.

With SIBO, we have bacteria either coming down from the upper respiratory tract or back from the large intestine. Signs and symptoms of SIBO can be gut related or systemic. The video below depicts SIBO with more clarity.

What are Acid Blockers?

Acid blockers are the leading evidenced based therapy for upper gastrointestinal disorders including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), dyspepsia and peptic ulcer disease[1]; without a doubt, they work.

However, acid blockers are not meant for long term use.

Acid blockers are so effective, it has led to the overuse throughout the world, leading to various potential risks [1]. One reason is simply the failure to re-evaluate the need for continuation and insufficient use of step-down therapy [1].

Consequences of overuse are described in-depth here.

Acid Blockers and SIBO

Acid blockers eliminate stomach acid (HCl) [2].

Stomach acid serves many purposes, including being the primary defense against gut infection [2].

Research also shows about 40% of people with digestive complaints (diagnosed with IBS) are taking an acid blocker. Now research is showing SIBO and acid blocking medications are related [2].

Summary

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is commonly caused by low stomach acid, secondary to acid blocking medications. Acid blockers are safe and effective short term (6-12 months), but long term use is not recommended (even by the drug manufacturers themselves). Consider working with a naturopath to work towards healthy gut function.

References

Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Gut Health!

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

Dr. Johann de Chickera is a naturopath at Absolute Health and Wellness in Paris Ontario

Dr. Johann is a licensed naturopathic doctor and co-owner of Absolute Health and Wellness. He completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.

His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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