A blind loop can cause escalating problems, including:
Feb. 26, 2015
- Poor absorption of fats. Bacteria in your small intestine break down the bile salts needed to digest fats. As a result, your body can't fully absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Incomplete absorption of fats leads to diarrhea, weight loss and vitamin deficiency disorders.
- Damage to the intestinal lining. Toxins that are released when bacteria break down stagnant food harm the mucous lining (mucosa) of the small intestine. As a result, most nutrients, including carbohydrates and proteins, are poorly absorbed, leading to serious malnourishment.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Bacteria in the small intestine absorb vitamin B-12, which is essential for the normal functioning of your nervous system and the production of blood cells and DNA. A severe B-12 deficiency can lead to weakness, fatigue, tingling and numbness in your hands and feet, and, in advanced cases, to mental confusion. Damage to your central nervous system resulting from a B-12 deficiency may be irreversible.
- Brittle bones (osteoporosis). Over time, damage to your intestine from abnormal bacterial growth causes poor calcium absorption, and eventually may lead to bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
- Kidney stones. Poor calcium absorption may also eventually result in kidney stones.
- Townsend CM Jr, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Vanderhoof JA, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of small bacterial intestinal overgrowth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Bacterial overgrowth syndrome: Malabsorption syndromes. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/malabsorption_syndromes/bacterial_overgrowth_syndrome.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Vanderhoof JA, et al. Treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Vanderhoof JA, et al. Etiology and pathogenesis of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Dec. 14, 2014.
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