Studies assessing the prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) gave contrasting results.
Differences in criteria to define irritable bowel syndrome patients and methods to assess small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may explain different results.
Moreover, no data exist on small intestinal bacterial overgrowth prevalence in a significant population of healthy non-irritable bowel syndrome subjects.
Dr Gasbarrini and colleagues assessed the prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth by glucose breath test in irritable bowel syndrome.
The research team enrolled 65 consecutive patients with irritable bowel syndrome according to Rome II criteria and 102 healthy controls.
| Positivity to glucose breath test occurred in 31% of IBS patients vs 4% in controls|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The control population consisted of 102 sex- and age-matched healthy subjects without irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
All subjects underwent glucose breath test.
A peak of H2 values more than 10 p.p.m above basal value after 50 g glucose ingestion was an indicator of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
The researchers found positivity to glucose breath test in 31% of irritable bowel syndrome patients compared to 4% in the control group.
Dr Gasbarrini's team concluded, “The present case-control study showed an epidemiological association between irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.”
“Placebo-controlled small intestinal bacterial overgrowth-eradication studies are necessary to clarify the real impact of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.”