Is SIBO Contagious?

Is SIBO Contagious?

One of the common myths and misunderstandings about SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is that it is contagious. SIBO is not contagious! It is not a condition or a disease that can be transferred from one person to another. SIBO is a sign or symptom that something else is going on in your gut. There are several illnesses, conditions, disorders, and diseases that are associated with SIBO.

Pathogenic bacteria are infectious but not all bacterial pathogens are contagious.  When something is infectious it simply means it has the ability to enter the body and begin creating disease. The colony of bacteria that live in our gut are beneficial bacteria that actually have an important role in our system. It is the overgrowth of bacteria that is the problem when it comes to SIBO not a bacteria that was acquired through infection, injury, animal bites, stings, and/or contagions.

Contagious vs. Infectious

  • Infectious : A disease or disease-causing organism, likely to be transmitted to people, organisms, etc, through the environment.

  • Contagious : a disease that spreads from one person or organism to another by direct and/or indirect contact.

  • Bacterial overgrowth is a condition where there are simply too many bacteria in the colony of your gut. Because of the overgrowth the bacteria end up getting into places it shouldn’t because there’s not enough space anymore. It can become a serious situation but it isn’t going to pass from one person to the next because it isn’t that type of bacteria. It is not an infection, it is not contagious, and it can be cured. 

    SIBO Association To Illnesses

    SIBO can be triggered by a variety of things and they don’t always have to do with your digestive and gastrointestinal tract. Chronic inflammation, a poor diet, underlying medical conditions that affect GI health, surgical procedures, and stress can all trigger an imbalance of gut microbiota and the microflora inside of your belly. There is still a lot of unknown when it comes to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth but more discoveries are being made.

    This list will provide the most common illnesses that are linked to SIBO. More research is being done and as that happens there are new breakthroughs regarding the condition and its causes. You’ll notice all the conditions/illnesses on this list pertains to the gut in one way or another. Everything listed below pertains to our gut. Don’t forget that there’s more to it and it can be a combination of things causing the triggers.

    • Crohn’s Disease
    • Celiac Disease
    • IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • Portal Hypertension
    • Viral Gastroenteritis or Stomach Flu
    • Intestinal Nerve Damage
    • Hypochlorhydria
    • Food Poisoning

    Not all SIBO patients have any of the above listed conditions/illnesses and not all patients that have/had any of the medical conditions on the above list will end up with a case of overgrowth. As previously mentioned, these are not the only causes that lead to SIBO rather the most common. SIBO can be tricky to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to so many other health issues that it is often misdiagnosed. SIBO also goes undiagnosed completely because sometimes the symptoms are very mild and somewhat elusive. Elusive in the sense that if a person eats spicy food on a regular basis and they begin having indigestion the initial culprit to be blamed would be the food they ate, which can be true. Let’s say this same person begins experiencing diarrhea, this may also be blamed on the spicy food. 

    SIBO Symptoms

    Let’s take a quick look at the symptoms produced by bacterial overgrowth. 

    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Stomach Aches
    • Abdominal Cramps
    • Indigestion
    • Nausea
    • Feeling Full
    • Bloating
    • Gas

    You can set those worries aside and sleep a little more sound now that you know SIBO isn’t going to be passed around like the flu in a house full of school kids. SIBO may not be contagious but it can become serious if left untreated and undiagnosed. If you have any of the SIBO symptoms and have not been diagnosed, talk to your doctor about setting up a breath test to find out. The sooner you can address the problems the better it will be for your body.

    SIBO treatment is available and the condition can be cured but the chances that it will recur are high if the underlying condition isn’t taken care of. SIBO supplements can be used to treat the excess bacteria and diet adjustments will help ease the symptoms and keep any extra bacteria from entering the system. SIBO is not contagious, you won’t catch it from others who have it and you may never deal with it in your life even if you do have any of the associated illnesses. SIBO being contagious is just a myth and it’s been busted. Always remember, when in doubt go get it checked out!