Rosacea & SIBO

There is a new scientific study (published 2009) that can be really exciting if you have rosacea.

Apparently, about 50% of the people who have rosacea also have SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

When the people were treated against SIBO, and the SIBO was removed, then many people’s rosacea simply disappeared. Nine month later they were checked again – no rosacea remission, it was all gone. Could this be a rosacea cure for people with SIBO?

If I’d have rosacea, I would get checked for SIBO immediately right away. If you have SIBO, then removing it has a high chance of being a rosacea cure. Testing for SIBO is easy – you can do it with a simple lactulose and glucose breath test.

How SIBO Testing Works

This is how a breath test works: you blow into a special balloon. Then the medical staff will check how much hydrogen is in your breath air that is in the balloon. You will be given a (good tasting) lactulose syrup solution, and asked to breath again into the balloon after 15 minutes. This will be repeated for 2 hours. With people who have SIBO, the solution will cause the hydrogen percentage in your breathing air to increase, and it’s easy to see. So it’s a completely painless and harmless test, it just takes two hours where you have to blow in a balloon every 15 minutes. So you might want to bring a book or magazine.

However, you need to take a couple of things into consideration. 8 hours before the test, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything (not even water!).

On the day of a test, you are not allowed to smoke, you should avoid passive smoking, chewing gum, mouthwash and toothpaste. And four weeks prior to the test, you should not take antibiotics and not undergo certain colon treatments – however, any testing facilities will inform you about all the details.

What is SIBO?

It is completely normal to have bacteria in your small intestine (the small intestine is what connects your stomach with your colon). Anything less than 10,000 bacteria per ml of fluid is normal and healthy. But in some people, there are way too much bacteria – over 100,000 bacteria per ml of fluid in the small intestine. That’s when it’s called small intestine bacterial OVERGROWTH. This overgrowth prevents foods and nutrients from being absorbed properly. SIBO often develops because of lactose intolerance – some people are unable to digest diary products and milk. Other possible causes of SIBO are diabetes mellitus, scleroderma, Partial or intermittent obstruction of the small intestine or out-pouchings of the small intestine.

Another name for this condition is small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO).

More Details of the Rosacea & SIBO Study

The patients who were involved in the study who have been given a placebo, did not show improvements, and some of them even developed a little bit worse rosacea. In total, 173 people were involved, of which 113 were rosacea patients, and 60 were healthy people who participated just as a control group.

In the study, the antibiotic rifaximin was used to kill the overgrowth bacteria. Rifaximin does not pass through the intestinal wall, that’s why it fights only the bacteria in the small intestine. There are also natural remedies for SIBO, and if you prefer those, that could be a valid way to cure rosacea as well.

I can’t tell you how exciting this is – rosacea patients are usually told that there is nothing that can be done, and I am surprised that this study isn’t getting more attention.

Source: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication.

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