When assessing GI concerns, Naturopathic Doctors (ND) may recommend running a comprehensive stool test that can provide valuable information to help identify the root cause(s). It is important to note that imbalances in the GI system can lead to symptoms elsewhere in the body, so you ND may also suggest a stool test for concerns that are located outside of the GI tract.
Most comprehensive stool tests are provided by independent functional laboratories that are often underutilized by conventional doctors. These stool tests will assess 4 areas related to GI function including:
- Digestive function – how well your pancreas is functioning to secrete enzymes that are necessary for breaking down your food
- Inflammation – identifying specific markers that can indicate if microscopic inflammation is present and in what capacity
- Gut Microbiome Balance – assessing the types of good gut bacteria that are present and in what amounts as well as the presence or lack of byproducts made by the gut flora that help the intestines function properly
- Infection – detecting the presence of any infection by opportunistic gut bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and parasites
With this information, NDs can provide personalized treatment plans to address gut dysfunction based upon clearing infections, understanding which areas of the gut are already functioning optimally and what areas should be addressed after resolving infections. Retesting allows for the ability to see how the treatments are working and whether infections, inflammation and dysbiosis have resolved or improved.
Common Conditions that warrant testing include:
- GI dysfunction: diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, bloating, IBS or IBD etc.
- Autoimmune diseases
- Skin concerns like acne, psoriasis or rashes
- Mood disorders like anxiety and depression
- Metabolic disorders like diabetes or weight loss issues.
To learn more about Naturopathic approaches to GI dysfunction schedule a FREE 15-minute call with one of our experts to discuss your concerns.