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Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is bacterial overgrowth syndrome (BOS)?

BOS is a condition that causes too many bacteria to grow in your small intestine. You may have too many of one kind of bacteria, or several kinds of bacteria. Bacteria normally live inside your small intestine in a healthy balance. The bacteria are important for your health. Bacteria protect you against organisms that could make you sick. They also regulate your immune system, digestion, and electrolyte balance. Vitamin K, folate, and other nutrients are produced by bacteria. BOS can develop because you do not have enough stomach acid to destroy bacteria. Conditions that slow the movement of contents through your intestines can also lead to BOS. The slow movement allows the bacteria to sit in one place and continue to grow.

Digestive Tract

What causes BOS or increases my risk?

What are the signs and symptoms of BOS?

How is BOS diagnosed?

Tell your healthcare provider about your symptoms and when they started. Tell him or her about all your current medicines. Also tell your provider about any surgery you had in your digestive system. You may also need any of the following:

How is BOS treated?

What can I do to manage or prevent BOS?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.