Started reading about the effects of IBS and bacterial overgrowth because I have horrible fecal body odor. I also get extreme gas and my stool ranges from small hard lumps to diarrhea to loose stool with mucus. I have had a number of tests and nothing has been conclusive so this is my latest theory. Does anyone think this makes sense?
If you think you have bacterial overgrowth, you should talk to your doctor about testing this out using a breath test or antibiotics. Some insurance does not cover the breath test so the antibiotics are the next step. If taking the antibiotics reduces the symptoms then you probably have Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
What is this breath test about? And if they say you have SIBO, what do you do about it? I would really like to get to the bottom of this.
One common test for SIBO is the hydrogen/methane breath test. The doctors give you a drink with lots of carbs in it that is easily digested by bacteria. If this causes gas rapidly, then you probably have SIBO. In some cases they may need to insert a tube down your throat and past your stomach to collect a sample.
Once diagnosed, that is good, but it is still difficult to treat. They can give you something to immediately kill off the bacteria but without addressing the underlying problem, the bacteria will simply accumulate again.
The only thing which might work that I know of is the use of probiotics. This way the bacterial balance in the gut is constantly being moved toward a healthier balance. However, if it is a case of good bacteria being in the wrong place, this won't help either.
Definitely talk to the doctor again to try to get to the bottom of this. It doesn't sound like you have IBS itself, but you could certainly have a SIBO like Bill was talking about.
How long has this been going on?
Bacterial overgrowth can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome, studies have shown that most IBS sufferers have a bacterial overgrowth. it will take time to improve your gut flora and you will probably need to make adjustments to your diet. What types of foods are you eating?
It has been 5 months with the odor problem. It is miserable!
I am glad to know I stumbled onto a valid theory. It just stinks (no pun intended) that there is probably little that can be done about it. I called the doctor arrange a visit so we will see if I can get a diagnosis. That would be a start at least.
Knowing the cause is important. That way, even if there is no treatment now, you can always follow the news and watch for new research that might help. You might also find that you don't have SIBO so can try other alternatives for getting your gas under control.