Gut Bug Testing and IBS
As I have already pointed out in previous articles, IBS is a blanket term used to diagnose someone with a particular set of symptoms. Unfortunately being diagnosed with IBS gets you no closer to understanding why you are experiencing these IBS symptoms. In case you missed it, read my article: What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
As stated in my original article on IBS I pointed out that one of the major reasons for IBS symptoms is the invasion or overgrowth of certain bacteria in the system. In my previous article I looked at the most common bacterial, parasite and yeast / fungal infections or overgrowths that cause IBS. You can read that full article by clicking Gut Bugs and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Most Common Digestive Infections.
Lets now assume that you are suspicious that you are suffering with a digestive infection. How do you go about finding out whether this is actually the case or not and if so exactly what you are dealing with?
In todays article I am going to take you through what I have found to be the most clinically beneficial test to use with clients when trying to determine underlying causes of IBS.
What tests might be useful?
Standard testing often looks at a narrow range of markers. Typically an inflammatory marker known as calprotectin and then certain bacteria or parasites that are common pathogenic infections.
If this picks up on something then great, but in many cases this misses the types of imbalances present in one’s gut that contribute to common digestive symptoms or a diagnosis of IBS.
For this reason we tend to use broad tests that consider at least the following:
- Pathogenic infections
- Opportunistic bacteria, yeast/fungi, parasitic overgrowths
- Digestion and absorption
- Levels of beneficial bacteria
- Gut immunity
- Intestinal permeability/leaky gut
These more functional assessments provide a deeper insight into your digestive system and a better representation of your microbiome.
Whilst we are still in early days of understanding the microbiome, what we are now well aware of is the far reaching consequences of the environment in the digestive system and how it makes us feel and function on a day-to-day basis. This is not limited to the digestive system, but how we think, or risk of certain disease, our ability to manage blood glucose, hormone production and regulation, immune function, inflammation and much much more.
At Steve Grant Health the most common tests for us to use to determine underlying causes of IBS include:
- Stool Testing
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth Breath tests (Typically lactulose)
- Occasionally Urine Organic Acids Testing
- Occasionally Advanced Intestinal Permeability testing – Blood Test
All the above can provide different insights into the inner workings of your digestive system and act as a guide to help use personalise how we are going to support you.
Want to explore what is going on in your digestive system?
We are able to offer 1-2-1 consultations whereby we can assess you as a system of systems. A big part of that assessment is reviewing your history and current symptoms. We typically work on your foundational areas first and then if needs be look at adding in functional testing to guide your journey.
If this sounds like something you are looking for you can complete the enquiry form before to learn more about 1-2-1 and working with a practitioner.