There are several different tests you can do to determine levels of good bacteria, but I consider the comprehensive stool analysis (CSA) to be the best.
Another test that measures the bacteria in your digestive system is the breath test. However, the breath test doesn’t quantify bacteria. It just shows you the presence of bacteria that create methane and hydrogen. Of course, there are also more expensive and intrusive tests like biopsies, but those are reserved for specific situations.
The CSA is the best, least invasive, most comprehensive test that you’ll ever do on your gut. It’s the test you want to do if you want to measure not only bacteria but also parasites and yeasts. The CAS will determine the levels of beneficial Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria as well as levels of certain dysbiotic bacteria like E. Coli, Klebsiella, and Citrobacter
One of the best aspects of a CSA is that it shows you the balance of bacteria and gives you specific counts. For example, it will tell you if you have one plus, two-plus, three-plus, or four-plus Lactobacillus.
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Stool testing also gives you a measure of inflammatory markers, of immunological markers, and of digestive parameters such as pancreatic elastase. There is also a short-chain fatty acid panel which will tell you how healthy the large intestine is in particular.
The sheer breadth and amount of information you get for a CSA is quite staggering. In the hands of an experienced clinician, the CSA can give you more information about your gut than you probably thought possible.
If you’ve had a digestive problem for a long time and you want to find out, once and for all, what’s wrong with your gut, having a CSA is the way to go. It certainly beats going to one doctor after another and getting more and more pills.