What is the role of bacterial overgrowth in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Small bowel bacterial overgrowth has been heralded as a unifying mechanism for the symptoms of bloating and distention, common to patients with irritable bowel syndrome. This has led to proposed treatments with probiotics and antibiotics.

The fecal microflora also differs among patients with irritable bowel syndrome versus controls. A sophisticated molecular analysis suggested an alteration in the patterns and the contents of gut bacteria. [14]


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