Does anyone know if they do SIBO testing on the NHS?

I went to my doc today and he is happy to diagnose me as having IBS and leave it at that. His solution is for me to eat the FODMAPS diet for the rest of my life. At the moment the FODMAPS diet isn't resolving my problems, but even if it were, I wouldn't want to eat it for the rest of my life. I want to know what's actually wrong, and I wanted to start with SIBO testing. My doc had never heard of it and is going to look it up, but I'm worried that as soon as he sees it's a not proven, controversial treatment he'll just be down on it and I won't even get a shot at it. Does anyone know if you can actually have SIBO testing on the NHS? If you can, it makes a big difference to my argument with him - and I'll surely have to have one. Any advice most gratefully received....

41 Replies

  • Thanks Pandora, I appreciate that. If it depends on your doctor that's probably me screwed, as mine prides himself in being super-sceptic. He's terrified of anything that isn't mainstream. However, possibly if I pushed to see a gastroenterologist I might get one. It's at least comforting to know that they CAN be done on the NHS. It's a start.

  • The fodmap diet is not designed to do for the rest of your life it's an elimination and reintroduction diet. I did it and when I came to the challange part of the diet the reintroduction part I had reactions to apple and mango if I avoid those foods I am ok about 80% of the time.

    I would see if your GP can refere you to a dietitian as its easy to get mixed up with fodmap diet

  • I think you're right, Clare, and I will ask for a referral to a dietician, especially as I am following it to the letter but no improvement yet, so it would be good to get input. I'm beginning to have a horrible suspicion I have a sensitivity to fruit, full-stop, so I'd like some guidance on that.

  • I actually did the test privately and it cost about £100. I had a very high incidence of bacterial overgrowth and was given a course of antibiotics which got rid of it. I still have IBS but control it with the FODMAP diet adjusted to foods I react to. For instance strawberries and raspberries have a bad effect on me although they are not in the FODMAP!

  • That's interesting, Salti. Can I ask where you had it done? I assume you had to attend a clinic somewhere?

  • Biolab Medical Unit, The Stone House, 9 Weymouth Street. London W1W 6DB

    020 7636 5959

  • Thanks! Too far for me, I'm up the opposite end of the country in Edinburgh, but hopefully someone locally may do it. Even more hopefully I can coerce the NHS into doing it!

  • Alternatively some private clinics send a home testing kit. That's how I had mine done.

  • A home testing kit, Nedds? that's interesting. Was it reliable, do you think? I ask because I had a hydrogen breath test for H. Pylori several years ago and I know that was really tricky. I about passed out, having to keep blowing into bags till the nurse got a sample she liked! Or is the home kit not a breath test? Can you tell me who did for you?

  • As far as I know its accurate! The 1st test was positive, as expected. After the herbal antibiotic treatment it was negative & my "ibs" symptoms of 40 years hugely improved. I couldn't get test or treatment on the nhs, or even through a private gastrenterologist. I used Smart Nutrition clinic in London but everything was done by post & phone. Its expensive however, and so frustrating that the nhs is so unhelpful. Good luck

  • Thanks for that - very useful information. But I was very curious to read you were treated with herbal antibiotics. I'm intrigued! What was in them, do you know?

  • One lot was oregano, the others grapefruit seed. There are probably other kinds too

  • Oregano? Well, that's a good excuse to eat loads of Pizza - if only it wasn't full of damn wheat! But did they breath test you somehow, or was it another approach?

  • Yes, breath tests, sealable bags sent in post. Its all explained on the website

  • Thanks, Nedds, I'll go check it out!

  • Hi - this is old post so not sure if you'l see this, but how did you get a referral to biolab?

  • Hi there, there is an NHS hospital in north London that does the breath test. it's an NHS specialist hospital for gastro stuff. It's called St Marks but I believe you need a referral, so ask your GP. The referral may have to be from your local hospital as thats where I was offered it. I hope this helps, at least you now know the test exists on the NHS.

  • Many thanks, rowtheboat, useful to know. I'm moving house so I'll almost certainly be moving doctor. Who knows, I might hit it lucky and get a better, less 'sceptical', one this time round!

  • Thanks so much for this precious info rowtheboat.

    I'm seeing a GP tomorrow and am expecting to be put down with my request..

    At least I can say that this test exists in London..

  • Hi, my son is struggling with SIBO symptoms. Can you tell me which antibiotics you took? It seems Rifaximin is prescribed in the US but not here. He tried Metronidazole but the side effects made him too ill. Which other antibiotics may work?

  • Hi just realised this was a year ago, but if you do see this could I ask what your symptoms were please?

  • Hi Gwen, not sure if you are asking for my symptoms or someone else's in the thread? Let me know!

  • Hi Salti. Can you remember where you got the test from as I really think I need to do the test. Thanks Tim

  • Yes, they do provide this test on the NHS as I had mine done last Monday. I didn't even have to push for it, it was my Gastro consultant who suggested it! However, reading around it does look like it depends on who you see.

  • What!! I had to make the suggestion and she said theres no test its all private and a waste of time because sibo wouldnt cause my pain!!

  • The nurse who set me up with it said that it is becoming more common and she does quite a few tests per week. I'm not sure how accurate the results are but I guess I'll find out when I see the consultant again - which, as ever is ages away!

  • That's great to know, Gib, thank you. I don't imagine I'll get it without a fight but it's reassuring to know it's not something that's blacklisted!

  • It was Portsmouth hospital that did quote them like crazy!!! Good luck!

  • Thanks, Gib. Pandora sent me a leaflet form Nottingham hospital (I think!) and they do it - all laid out there in black and white - so that's at least two! Unfortunately, I'm in Scotland and we have a different NHS, but still, it helps make it sound legitimate and that makes all the difference with my doc, who's a real mainstream man!

  • I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Where can I get this test.


  • Morning all fellow IBS sufferers,

    Can someone please tell be wot SIBO testing is ?

  • No sibo testing app. no funding

  • did people get a test on the nhs in the end? thanks

  • i would like to get sibo testing but because i think it is linked to my mental health, dont know if my gp would test me

  • There are 2 hydrogen breath tests at a hospital near me (Leigh/Wigan/Greater Manchester) that test specifically for sibo or sbbo as they call it. One tests the bacteria at the top of the small intestine, the other tests the middle I think. You have to be referred by a gastroenterologist. My was positive. I have been given a 10 day course of antibiotics (metronidazole) 400mg 3x a day. They do make you feel awful but that could be a good thing due to a hex reaction. I'm also taking a long course of antifungal ( terbinafine) to get rid of recurrent fungal infections. I've read that these things often co- exist

  • Thanks, Davenoz. Can I ask what you were referred to a gastroenterologist for? What it just IBS or was the SIBO testing done for another reason?

  • I was having problems with my stomach, and acid indigestion for years. Also IBS too. I also have an auto immune thyroid condition and was interested if all my health complaints could have one common cause. You will be asked a series of questions about your symptoms to see if they justify the test, so best to do a list. My endoscopy came back negative for h.pylori but it did show inflammation.

  • Thanks, Davenoz, good to know if I ever pursue that line of enquiry. I can tick all those boxes except for the thyroid condition. I did have h. pylori but it was treated years ago, worst luck. Caused more harm than good! Thanks again.

  • No problem. I hope you get sorted. I too got treated for h.pylori in the past. I'll try and post an update, see if there's an improvement after the anti biotics

  • Ah, and did your acid reflux start after treatment as mine did? They don't warn people that H. Pylori has a preventative effect on acid reflux so lots of people get reflux after treatment. I've never lost it. I heartily wish they had never treated it. The full horror of it was it wasn't what was causing my problems - I had gallstones, but they treated me for an ulcer I never had!

  • Can I ask what were your symptoms?

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