hydrogen sulfide and methane sibo symptoms

How To Know If You Have Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO - aka “Hidden SIBO” 

Identifying and diagnosing SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) is tricky.

When it was first discovered, doctors thought SIBO was a rare disease…but now we know it’s actually incredibly common, with as much of 80% of people diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) actually having SIBO.

But even with the knowledge that SIBO is actually super common, problems with reliable testing for SIBO mean it is STILL underdiagnosed.

But don’t worry - I’m not just here to complain. I have good news:

A new breath test for SIBO is now available that identifies all 3 main types of SIBO!

If you have “mystery” gut symptoms — and even if you’ve been tested for SIBO in the past and gotten a negative result — this information is very important for you!

The 3 Types of SIBO 

SIBO is a condition where bacteria overgrow in the small intestine — as the name implies. The overgrown bacteria eat undigested food in the small intestine and produce gas as a by-product.

Different types of overgrown bacteria produce different types of gas: either methane, hydrogen, or hydrogen sulfide.

It’s the gas produced by the bacteria that causes SIBO’s hallmark symptoms: bloating and constipation or diarrhea. 

Many practitioners classify SIBO into one of 3 types based on the type of gas:

Hydrogen SIBO - is associated with diarrhea

Methane SIBO - now also called “Intestinal Methanogen Overgrowth” or IMO, is associated methane SIBO symptoms of constipation

Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO - is the least well-understood and associated with diarrhea, but can also be present with constipation

Making it even more tricky, people can have more than one type of gas present, causing a mix of symptoms. 

What Does Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO Feel Like?

People with Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO typically have some or all of the traditional SIBO symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort

But I also look for these tell-tale signs of hydrogen sulfide:

  • Bladder pain, frequency, or urgency
  • Body or muscle pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feed
  • Sensitivity to noise and/or light
  • Histamine sensitivity
  • Sulfur-smelling gas (like rotten eggs)
  • Whole body pain and overall feeling of unwellness 
  • Sulfur intolerance

Sulfur intolerance may be a condition you’re not familiar with. It’s symptoms are very similar to histamine intolerance: asthma, shortness of breath, hives/itchy skin, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, flushing, high or low blood pressure, brain fog, chronic stress (via elevation of cortisol and glutamate) and fatigue. 

Sulfur is necessary to repair cells and carry out detox, but some people struggle with it for two reasons:

  1. Genetic mutations (like CBS or SOUX) that make it hard for them to process
  2. An abundance of sulfur-producing bacteria (like in hydrogen sulfide SIBO)

And some people have BOTH. 

If you have a sulfur intolerance, you might find that high-sulfur foods — like kale, eggs, red meat, and garlic — make you feel worse, as do Epsom salt baths. 

And if you’re a SIBO “tough case” or have chronic digestive issues, that’s another red flag for hydrogen sulfide SIBO. 

Any of these signs are a great hint…but there’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s talk about that now. 

How Do I Know Which Type of SIBO I Have?

The only way to know what type of SIBO you have is with a special test called a “breath test.”

To have a breath test, you’ll follow a special diet for 24 hours, then fast overnight. Then you’ll drink a sugar solution (made of either glucose or lactulose), and breath into a special collection device. 

The idea is that the overgrown bacteria in your small intestine consume the sugar solution, ferment it, and produce gas. That gas can be measured in your breath sample. A practitioner trained in SIBO can interpret test results and prescribe treatment based on your gas type and level.

But the catch is that until now, only levels of hydrogen and methane could be detected in a breath sample.

That left many people who had the clinical symptoms of SIBO scratching their heads when their test results came back negative! 

How could they have all the symptoms, but none of the methane or hydrogen gas? In many cases, the answer is hydrogen sulfide SIBO. 

Hidden SIBO: Hydrogen Sulfide

Smart SIBO practitioners have found workarounds to help identify hydrogen sulfide SIBO even without a proper test - specifically looking for a test result pattern called a “flat line.”

But a flat line test result can only suggest hydrogen sulfide — not confirm it. Even more complicated, hydrogen sulfide may just be one of the gases present, and can explain why treatment for hydrogen or methane SIBO falls short of resolving all symptoms.  

But all that is changing now!

New technology has created the first breath test for all three gases: hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. 

It’s called TrioSmart, and I’m really excited to have this as a tool in my kit for patients. While no test is 100% perfect, this can reveal some important information no other test can.

If you are tested and DO have SIBO of any type, we can use your gas levels and types to create a customized treatment plan.

Should I Get A SIBO Test?

Wondering if this new test might be for you?

Here are some of the indicators I look for:

  • History of IBS or other “unexplained” digestive symptoms like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • History of restless leg syndrome or rosacea (both are commonly associated with SIBO)
  • Past SIBO test was negative, but you still have symptoms

But you don’t need to figure this out…that’s MY job. 

As your health guide, here’s what I do:

#1 Listen to you - your health history, your concerns, your questions. 

#2 Create a customized plan  - based on your health needs, your budget, and your schedule. Nothing one-size-fits-all. 

#3 Support you along the way - answering questions, tweaking and updating your plan as needed, and anything else you need. 

Sounds like what you need? It all starts with a no-cost, no-obligation 15 minute intro call with my team. 

>>> Book a Free 15-Minute Consult

  • Brie

PS - If you’ve been told you have IBS, and there is no solution, this test could change everything for you. I’d love to walk you through it, help you prep and order it, and most importantly: interpret the results and create a treatment plan! Step 1 is a free consult - book yours today.