Kay Quinn of KSDK News Channel 5 reports on a developing theory that links bacteria that causes food poisoning, including salmonella, to IBS.
37 year old Jennifer Freese has been battling the pain and discomfort of IBS since she was 19. On the advice of her doctor, Jennifer’s breath is being tested every 15 minutes for the next two hours. The test can help determine whether she has an overgrowth of bacteria in her small intestine. Some doctors believe certain bacteria that cause food poisoning, like shigella and salmonella, also damage the nerves of the small intestine, setting the stage for that overgrowth and the discomfort of IBS.

After a careful medical history and physical exam, patients are given a sugar drink that’s not absorbed by the body. The breath of those with an overgrowth of bacteria will give off measurable levels of methane and hydrogen. Patients who test positive can then be treated with two drugs: one that increases contractions in the small intestine, and a ten day course of a new antibiotic called Xifaxan.
Kelly Kendrick was found to have an overgrowth of bacteria in her intestine. She’s been treated and is already seeing a difference. The theory is still somewhat controversial. But Dr. Weinstock believes the test could help up to 70 percent of people with IBS.