Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in systemic sclerosis: a review of the literature

Arch Dermatol Res. 2019 Jan;311(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s00403-018-1874-0. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic, connective tissue disease with an autoimmune pattern characterized by inflammation, fibrosis and microcirculation changes leading to internal organs malfunctions. Recently, the presence of uncharacteristic gastrointestinal symptoms in the course of SSc has been underlined. The possible cause of such clinical presentation is the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Nevertheless, these manifestations resulting from gastrointestinal tract hypomotility may occur in numerous disease entities. The systematic review of the literature was performed on MEDLINE database using the relevant MeSH terms including all sub-headings. After further investigation, the initial number of 56 records was limited to 7 results. The study analysis showed an increased presence of SIBO in 39% of patients suffering from SSc. The average SSc duration was longer in SSc patients with coexisting SIBO. SIBO remains a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge and therefore is a significant clinical problem among patients suffering from SSc.

Keywords: Diagnosis; SIBO; Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth; Systemic sclerosis; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / microbiology*