“Is stool analysis performed to determine the presence or absence of pathogens?” That’s a good question. A stool test is completed to answer this question, but that’s not the only reason I have my clients do comprehensive stool analyses. I want to understand the balance of microbes in the gut, not just whether there are pathogens.
When I do a comprehensive stool analysis, I’m looking for the red flag. I’m looking for the bugs which are saying, “I’m the problem, check me out.” There will be a lot of red flags and there is often a lot of orange flags as well. Usually, I will see several measures that aren’t quite right on a stool test, but often there is one finding that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Sometimes the red flag is a pathogen but not always.
The red flag may also be a chronic lack of good bacteria. The red flag may be blood in the stool. It could be the pH of the stool is too low. The most important finding could be that the secretory IgA is far too high. A high level of secretory IgA means the gut immune system is upregulated for some reason. If the inflammatory markers are elevated, it may mean there is some type of inflammatory bowel disease going on. As you can see, a whole lot of valuable information can be gleaned from a comprehensive stool analysis.
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The take-home message is that stool testing is not done to determine the presence or absence of pathogens alone. It’s performed to determine the overall health and characteristics of your gut. The detailed information that results from a stool test allows for the creation of a customized, targeted treatment protocol.
Remember, though, when I treat patients, I’m not only treating their stool result. I also look at several other factors like their lifestyle, their diet, their work, their relationships, their stress level, and their sleep. Treatment is not based only on the results of the comprehensive stool analysis.