Remember, it is more important in the end to consider the patient rather than purely the test results, and this is where some practitioners potentially get confused in my opinion. They believe that it’s all about the test results rather than the patient. But what if the results are incorrect or the integrity of the sample was compromised? I have seen this on numerous occasions when I have been asked to assist in interpreting results for a practitioner.
For example, with a hair analysis the patient submitted colored or dyed hair. With a food allergy test (blood), the patient was taking an antibiotic right up until the blood was drawn or omitted every single food they believed they had an allergy so that the results wouldn’t show them. With a stool test the patient was taking probiotics during the test. The examples go on and on.
I worked alongside a British medical doctor in Australia some years ago who taught me a valuable lesson. This doctor had some of the best clinical skills of any doctor I have ever worked with. His bedside manner was impeccable and so was his ability to diagnose a patient. He always used to say that one should never get “paralysis from analysis” and not to rely a great deal on any test results in order to treat a patient.
To demonstrate this point, Neil would regularly have his practice nurse draw blood from a patient and then send the blood samples from exactly the same person to two separate laboratories and, much to my surprise, the results that came back were different. This occurred on more than one occasion. The blood was the same, from the same patient, yet the results were different! I asked the doctor how this could be, and he said that there are many potential weak links in the testing chain, but the most common are:
- If urine or stool was collected by the patient, how it was collected and handled.
- How the sample was drawn and handled by the nurse at the doctor’s end.
- The time and distance the sample travelled to the lab from the medical centre, and under what conditions the sample travelled in.
- The handling of the sample by the nurse and in the laboratory.
- The actual laboratory assay of the sample, i.e.; how they got the results.
- The actual experience the lab technician (or perhaps the lack of).
- The fact that some results belong to an incorrect patient; sad, but it happens.
The bottom line is not to rely exclusively on any test result. There are just too many variables why the test results may not be quite perfect but rather form a reasonably good guideline as to where to go as far as treatment is concerned. The other point I’d like to make is that the first test results obtained form a yardstick or baseline to compare subsequent results to.
I have found in some cases that a patient will come back in several years showing a similar result to those she originally presented with, a confirmation perhaps that the treatment was not vigorous enough initially or that she didn’t commit to the changes recommended to her diet and lifestyle.
In my next few posts I’m going to tell you of the different functional tests that are available to you to assess your yeast infection diagnosis as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these tests. I have used them all in my clinic for many years, and you may be familiar with some of these tests and not so familiar with others.