Antibiotics for irritable bowel syndrome: rationale and current evidence

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):439-45. doi: 10.1007/s11894-012-0284-2.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal condition effecting adults in developed countries worldwide. Over the last decade, evidence has emerged suggesting that gut bacteria play a role in the pathophysiology of IBS. While difficult to identify using noninvasive means, one of the most common attributable bacterial concepts in IBS is the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth hypothesis (SIBO). In this article, we review the different mechanisms by which gut flora and, specifically, SIBO may contribute to IBS and the evidence supporting the use of various antibiotic therapies in treating IBS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / etiology
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology*
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents