SIBO and Sucrose Intolerance – What’s Similar, What’s Different?
It is estimated that 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. These digestive diseases cause nearly 36 million visits to primary care physicians each year. Many digestive diseases account for these physician visits, but irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease top the charts. However, two other, less common, digestive diseases, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and Sucrose Intolerance, also plague a large number of individuals, sending them to their physician. SIBO and Sucrose Intolerance symptoms both include gas, bloating, chronic diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
What is SIBO?
In the gut, relatively few bacteria live in the small intestine. But the large intestine, the colon, houses trillions of bacteria, also known as probiotics. The few bacteria that live in the small intestine tend to be different from those that live in the colon. SIBO is defined as an increase in the number of bacteria or a change in the type of bacteria present in the small intestine. SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria; rather, it’s an overgrowth of various types of bacteria that are typically found in the colon. Specific types of food can increase symptoms and be more problematic than others for those with SIBO. Certain types of carbohydrates, like whole wheat, may increase symptoms of gas, bloating, and chronic diarrhea.
What is Sucrose Intolerance?
Sucrose Intolerance, medically known as Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID), is caused by a deficiency of the digestive enzymes sucrase and isomaltase. These two enzymes are imperative for the proper digestion of sugars. When a deficiency of either enzyme occurs, sugars are malabsorbed; and gastrointestinal symptoms can occur. Foods containing sucrose, like breads, carrots, and bananas, can exacerbate symptoms of Sucrose Intolerance causing chronic diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
SIBO and Sucrose Intolerance Symptoms
SIBO and Sucrose Intolerance symptoms have an uncanny resemblance. Both disorders can cause gas, bloating, distention, chronic diarrhea, and unexplained abdominal pain. Not only do these symptoms resemble one another, but the onset of symptoms is also similar. The onset of symptoms for SIBO typically occurs anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours after the ingestion of certain foods. For those with Sucrose Intolerance, the onset of symptoms can also occur relatively quickly and vary depending on how much sucrose was ingested.
While SIBO and Sucrose Intolerance symptoms appear very similar, each disease is unique and has very different etiologies. Because the symptoms of both diseases are similar, it may be difficult for an individual to discern the cause. If you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, take this quiz to see if Sucrose Intolerance may be to blame. Be sure to talk with your physician regarding your gastrointestinal symptoms to help identify their cause.