Are you consumed with constipation—or doomed with diarrhea? Are you suddenly intolerant of dairy or overloaded with estrogen? The fact is, good health begins in the gut, and a lot of your woes may be owed to intestinal problems. It’s time to put them to the test.
But you’re not in for another blood test. And you shouldn’t be holding onto electrodes or measuring electromagnetic currents (yes, some doctors believe this is the path to a diagnosis). Instead, you need to go to the source. To diagnose an intestinal problem, you must test the materials and body fluids that run right through the area. And there are five tests that do just that.
1. Leaky Gut Syndrome Test
If toxins and bacteria are entering your bloodstream, there’s a good chance you have leaky gut syndrome. Fortunately, running the gold-standard lactulose/mannitol test is a simple and affordable way to diagnose this common digestive disorder. After drinking a sugary solution and having your urine tested, you’ll have a clear and certain result.
2. Yeast and Fungal Culture (Candida Test)
The thought of fungus growing anywhere on your body is enough to make you shiver, but when it grows on the inside of the intestinal tract, the effects can be severe. Everything from diarrhea to dermatitis and psoriasis have been linked with the overgrowth of candida (a type of yeast), but a simple stool test can determine if you’re under attack.
3. Bacterial Overgrowth Test
A little bit of bacteria is normal—a lotta bit is not. The good bacteria that lives in your gut influences the conversion of T4 to T3, which ensures healthy thyroid function and strong metabolism. An accumulation of bad bacteria can cause anything from indigestion and upset stomach to elevated estrogen levels and low thyroid. Two tests can search out bacterial overgrowth—and once again, a simple stool culture is one of them. The other more advanced option, the SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) breath test, measures the hydrogen and methane gas produced by bacteria in your small intestine. Fun fact—54 percent of people with thyroid problems have SIBO.
4. Intestinal Inflammation Test
Inflammation is always a sign of something else going on. If your intestinal tract is inflamed, you likely have elevated levels of lysozyme, a protein enzyme found in tears, mucous, and saliva. As you absorb the inflammation into your blood stream, your cortisol levels kick up in an effort to calm it down. Over time, you’ll experience fatigue, achy joints, pain, and metabolic problems—not to mention stomach discomfort and loose stools. Another good-old stool culture can identify if inflammation is the culprit.
5. Digestive Enzyme Levels
We all love to eat, but if you don’t digest your food properly, you can’t absorb the precious nutrients. That’s where digestive enzymes come into play. If your pancreas isn’t producing adequate levels of these enzymes (a condition known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency), you’re in for a world of upset stomach, bloating, and diarrhea. Luckily, your old friend, the stool test, can analyze levels of chymotrypsin, the enzyme that digests proteins in the intestine.
While your primary doctor may not be quick to run these insightful and imperative tests, it’s wise for everyone to request them. You may have grown accustomed to stomach issues or fatigue, but minor inconveniences today can turn into a life-changing hormone and metabolism problems tomorrow. You can absolutely alter your intestinal health. Stay tuned for our next blog post to see the ramifications of not doing so.