Do I Need Gut Testing?
What is a gut test?
There are many types of testing that can be done if you have stomach pain, inconsistent bowel movements, reflux, bloating, etc. The one I like is called GI-MAP which is a stool (yes, that is poop) test. Don't worry, it's all done at home so you don't have to leave your house. The GI-MAP tests for quite a few things and is able to test quantity. Many stool tests just look for positive or negative, but this one is able to quantify so we can see how abundant the good or bad microbes are in the gut.
So what does this actually test for?
Quite a lot! Let's take a look. First, it looks at pathogens. AKA the bad. You do not need to understand these charts, that is our job, but you may recognize some of these like E. Coli, C. diff, salmonella, and Giardia. What's great about seeing quantity is that symptoms often change with low levels of a parasite compared to high levels, but regardless we like to get rid of them. Low levels may be overlooked by your doctor without typical presentation, but this will capture it.
Second, it looks at H. pylori and good bacteria. H. pylori is a bacteria in the stomach, so if it shows up in a stool test, chances are it is causing symptoms like reflux. The commensal AKA good bacteria have a fun graph so you are able to see where you fall and how close to optimal your good gut bacteria is.
Next, it tests for even more of the bad. Think, parasites, fungi, protozoa, worms, viruses, and overgrowth bacteria. All the ones we don't want, but can show up and disrupt gut health. You can go to their website to see the full sample report. https://www.diagnosticsolutionslab.com/tests/gi-map
Then, it takes a look at the function and immune health of your gut through several tests. Again, you do not need to know what these words are or mean, that is our job. This section can help detect leaky gut, malabsorption (not absorbing certain food or nutrients), maldigestion (food is moving through you without being fully broken down), gluten intolerance, and inflammation. This is not a way to diagnose any of these, but it can help get a clearer picture of what is happening in the gut and lead to treatment.
Lastly, it looks for anti-biotic resistance which is important to know if you end up going on an anti-biotic. If resistant to a certain anti-biotic, it is a good idea to tell your doctor so they can prescribe a different one when you need it.
So, do I need this test?
This test has helped a lot of people, myself included. Here are some reasons we recommend it:
GI symptoms with an unknown cause/no relief with standard treatment
Chronic GI symptoms (constipation whole life, mucous in stool for a long time, etc.)
Eczema that won't go away or other skin irritation like psoriasis or acne
Stubborn weight that won't budge
Unexplained brain fog
Mood disorders, like depression or anxiety
The GI-Map is not a cure all, but it sure has helped a lot of people. If you're unsure if this is right for you, call or email us today and we can help you assess.