Background: Small bowel bacterial overgrowth is a common complication of short bowel syndrome, and although it is often controlled with antimicrobial therapy, alternative strategies may occasionally be needed.
Methods: Six patients with bacterial overgrowth are described, who did not respond to antimicrobial therapy and required additional medical or surgical measures to control the overgrowth.
Results: Recalcitrant bacterial overgrowth was successfully treated with periodic small bowel irrigation with a balanced hypertonic electrolyte solution, colonic flushes, encouraging frequent stooling, intestinal lengthening procedure, or probiotic therapy with Lactobacillus plantarum 299V and Lactobacillus GG.
Conclusions: Small bowel bacterial overgrowth should be aggressively evaluated in patients with short bowel syndrome who are not progressing in a normal manner. Inadequate or incomplete response to antibiotic therapy is common, and several additional treatment possibilities are available.