November 30, 2020

Stool Testing and IBS – Why?

The composition of your microbiome is fundamental to health. Being able to monitor the gut microbiome and consider digestion is fundamental to obtaining a view of a client’s current health as well as predicting future health trajectories.   It is part of my first step on the ‘4 Steps to IBS Relief’ programme and the information I obtain from the test allows me to tailor specific interventions and to informatively adjust personal lifestyle choices in order to promote health and hopefully relieve IBS symptoms.

Billions of bacteria live in your gut. Due to advancements in ‘culture-independent molecular techniques’ (basically looks at DNA and RNA as well as culturing), it is now possible to measure the composition of the human microbiome.  

Billions of microorganisms live in the gastrointestinal tract and they play a huge role in the immune system, in producing energy sources for the cells in the colon (short chain fatty acids), vitamins, neurotransmitters and also aid in the defence against pathogens.

Disruption in the community. This ‘community’ (known as dysbiosis) has been associated with several diseases (metabolic syndrome, inflammation, autoimmune and mental health to name a few) and can be influenced by external factors like the environment, stress, physical activity and the use of pharmaceutical drugs (as well as recreational) such as antibiotics as well as diet.  Losing key bacterial species or having an overgrowth of others can disrupt this balance which can then lead to the development of disease.

Step 4. Diet is a critical factor in shaping the composition of the gut microbiome of course (and that’s why you come and see someone like me!) but you will find that included within the fourth step of my programme is ‘Balance’ as other external factors such as stress and physical activity also need to be addressed otherwise the bacterial community will still not be happy….

Taking away some of the guess work. Being able to test the microbiome through a stool sample has allowed us to get a holistic view of a client’s state of health inside and out.  Functional testing (of which the stool sample is only one) is a great adjunct to our tool belt but will never replace good old fashioned health history questioning, it just takes away some of the guess work.

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