Objectives: Erosive esophagitis (EE) may be related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) because gastro-esophageal reflux disease has been a comorbid condition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which has been associated with SIBO. We conducted a pilot study to investigate whether EE was associated with SIBO.
Material and methods: Twenty-eight patients with EE according to the Los Angeles classification criteria and 29 sex- and age-matched subjects without EE were enrolled. All subjects underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and a lactulose hydrogen breath test. A peak of H₂ values >20 ppm above the basal value after 10 g of lactulose ingestion was considered abnormal and suggestive of SIBO.
Results: Abnormal lactulose hydrogen breath test results were found in 67% of EE patients, as compared with 37% in the control group; the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.024). Among the subjects without IBS, subjects with EE and controls had 65% and 31% abnormal lactulose hydrogen breath test results, respectively; the difference was also statistically significant (p = 0.032).
Conclusions: Subjects with EE had a higher prevalence of SIBO, as assessed by the lactulose hydrogen breath test, with respect to a control group. These findings may suggest that EE is associated with SIBO.