Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Thursday, December 14, 2017

My SIBO test was positive

A few weeks ago when I had my last appointment with Dr. M, we were discussing my G.I. distress and she mentioned that I could submit to a SIBO test.  ("SIBO" is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.)  I had considered that my G.I. distress might be caused by SIBO, but when I reviewed  the list of symptoms of SIBO, I had only 2 or 3 of the 13 symptoms.  I have bloating, fatigue, and occasional nausea, but none of the other symptoms.  So I considered SIBO a possibility, but not a strong one.

I told Dr. M I wanted to take time to think about whether to spend money on the SIBO test.  Then when my next flare of G.I. symptoms occurred, it seemed much more urgent that I find answers. I called Dr. M's office and asked them to mail the test kit.

Taking the SIBO test involves using a device to capture one's breath every 20 minutes for about 2 hours.  The subject must fast overnight before the test, and there are dietary restrictions the day before the test.

Dr. M's office called me this morning and advised that the results were positive.  I am, however, wondering if this could be a false positive.  Insurance doesn't normally cover SIBO breath tests, indicating it may been seen as somewhat new or unproven.  The large corporate labs such as Quest and LabCorp don't offer SIBO tests (to my knowledge) which also suggests the test may be questionable. Then again, one could fill a Wiki with everything mainstream medicine doesn't know or has gotten wrong in recent years.

Before the test, the subject has to drink a solution of either lactulose or glucose.  Lactulose can lead to false positive results in some cases, and glucose can lead to false negative results.  I took the lactulose solution because the lab's paperwork described it as the default test.

I have an appointment scheduled for Monday to discuss these results with Dr. M.  She'll no doubt want to put me on antibiotics, which is the standard treatment for SIBO.  I'll have to decide then if I trust these test results enough to take the antibiotics, or if I should try the glucose test.


  1. I have been following your blog for several years because of strange symptoms I have had that mainstream or functional medicine hasn't diagnosed, until now. I've had thousands of dollars of tests - the test that made my diagnosis is called " Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment: Profile 5150 (Plasma)" by Dunwoody Labs. It's a test for leaky gut, which I did not have. However it also tests for Histamine and Diamine Oxidase (DAO). I had an extremely high histamine and low DAO. I thought I was eating healthy (all organic, no processed, etc), but I was eating a high histamine diet (fermented foods, etc). It took about 6 weeks on a low histamine diet, but now all my symptoms are gone. I am also MTHFR C677T homozygous, which I discovered about 6 years ago. There is plenty of info on the web about "Histamine Intolerance" or "Mast Cell Activation Disorder". Just wanted to pass along this info to you incase you hadn't considered this as etiology for your symptoms.

    Cherry Seaton, DVM

    1. Cherry, thank you so much for taking the time to relate your experience and information. Last year I read a book on Mast Cell Activation and I was left feeling more confused than before reading the book so I sort of put that idea aside wanting to come back to in later. In the meantime I did experiment with some OTC antihistamines just to see if they had any effect and the results were inconclusive.

      Now that I have a SIBO diagnosis, I just started an low FODMAPS diet yesterday, so it will be interesting to see if that helps. Knowing about your experience now will help me. Thank you.