No, I am not selling a gag gift for you to surprise your “frienemy” with – even though I recently discovered there are multiple websites dedicated to people sending poop as gag “gifts”.  Bizarre, I know.  What will we think of next….

Stool Tests

I really prefer the phrase “check is in the mail” but this last month I decided “poop is in the mail” was far more appropriate for what I am about to talk about.  So why did I stick my poop in the mail?  I did it as part of my every few years comprehensive exam.  I believe in stool tests because they are a comprehensive look into the gut.  A stool analysis can test for parasites, yeast, H.pylori, pinworms, giardia, functions, fungus, digestive enzymes, and it can provide further insight into gut flora along with food sensitivities.

Gut health is critical for good health.  The intestinal tract contains significant bacteria and when they are imbalanced it can cause a wide variety of illness like IBS, IBD, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases. Balancing gut microbiota is key for improving core gastrointestinal functions, such as digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as metabolic functions. Poor digestion and malabsorption may impact immune function, optimum nutritional status, and mood (yep, blame the poop for the grumpy mood).

Your gut could be keeping you from losing weight or why you are so exhausted.  The gut can elevate your autoimmune disorder or illness and can cause you not to get 100% results from dietary changes.  When you make such big lifestyle changes it is frustrating to not see the full effects of all of your hard work.  It is all about working with your bio-individuality and getting into the depths of your gut is part of that.

“Poop is in the mail” around my house…

These are never easy tests to be part of, no matter how free you are to talk about your own poop –  it just never gets less complicated.

My test began with my wonderful integrative doctor giving me my box full of tubes and instructions to take home with me.  I immediately put the box (poop free) in the backseat of my car and then went to pick my kids up from school.  My son climbs in the back and asks if the box was a Christmas gift which I then answer “no, it is for my poop”.  He becomes horrified and responds with “seriously, Mom?? are you serious your poop is in here?”.  His face was so priceless that I wish I had a video to share.

After a week or two of me procrastinating I looked at the instructions and realized that somehow I was going to have to get poop into a test tube….let me just say that creativity comes into play when doing a stool test.  I will leave the details out, but it has to be done over 3 days and the tubes get stored in the fridge.  I tried to hide the poop tubes from everyone in the fridge but leave it to my husband to find and ask about at dinner….

Then it gets dropped off at the UPS store, where the guy helping me was less than polite so I did not feel too guilty about giving him my box of poop!

A few weeks later my doc gets the results and emails them to me and goes over in detail what everything means. I learn that I have a parasite, a freaking parasite!

Intestinal-Parasites-300x243

I do the right things.  I follow a 90/10 rule of cleanness in my diet.  So WTH?  How did I end up with a parasite?  It could be our trip to Disneyland or when I use to work in a job where 40 of us shared keyboards, ate at our desk and then typed (hand-mouth-keyboard)…gross, I know!

Who knows what the source is, but the nice thing is I know which parasite it is and how to treat it.

The test also confirmed my sensitivity to dairy and gluten, so now I am officially that “does this have dairy or gluten in it?” at a restaurant (sorry to my future servers).

Bottom line (ha ha!)…it is worth asking your healthcare provider for a comprehensive stool exam along with your comprehensive blood work every few years.  Knowing how these numbers look will help you with any hurdles that may have been dismissed in the past by your doctor (unless you have a really great doc that spends lots of time with you!).  If your healthcare provider will not order one for you then take matters into your own hands and order your own tests- more info here from the SCD lifestyle page.

 Should you get a stool tests?  Well can you answer yes to any of these questions?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions digestive testing may be right for you. 

√   Do you have Irritable bowel syndrome?
√   Do you frequently experience indigestion?
√   Do you suffer from constipation?
√   Do you often have unexplained diarrhea?
√   Do you experience gas and bloating?
√   Do you ever have abdominal pain?
√   Have you been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease?
√   Do you have Ulcerative Colitis?

√   Do you have food allergies or sensitivities
√   Do you suffer from fatigue?
√   Do you consistently lack energy?
√   Do you have Fibromyalgia?
√   Do you have Rheumatoid arthritis?
√   Do you have an auto immune condition?|
√   Do you have poor skin or suffer from chronic skin conditions such as psoriosis or eczema?
√   Have you used antibiotics on occasion?

(Questions from Smart Nutrition)

Now there are multiple tests that you can have performed to test gut flora, etc but having an initial stool test is a good place to start.  One of the first things you will want to concur is parasites and yeast so that you can start your healing process and achieve your health goals. You should also learn about your intestinal permeability.  Learning about your gut’s permeability will help your healthcare provider identify if you have a leaky gut, having a leaky gut can cause you to not digest the vitamins and minerals in your foods.  A leaky gut is also associated with food sensitivities.

Be your own health advocate, remember you are paying the doctor.  You are not married to your healthcare provider, you are the customer.  This is your body, not theirs – so speak up for it.  I promise you, no one will give you another body in this lifetime…