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Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth: Presentation, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Florida, PO Box 100214, Gainesville, FL 32610-0214, USA.


Small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO) syndrome is associated with excessive numbers of bacteria in the proximal small intestine. The pathology of this condition involves competition between the bacteria and the human host for ingested nutrients. This competition leads to intraluminal bacterial catabolism of nutrients, often with production of toxic metabolites and injury to the enterocyte. A complex array of clinical symptoms ensues, resulting in chronic diarrhea, steatorrhea, macrocytic anemia, weight loss, and less commonly, protein-losing enteropathy. Therapy is targeted at correction of underlying small bowel abnormalities that predispose to SBBO and appropriate antibiotic therapy. The symptoms and signs of SBBO can be reversed with this approach.

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