In Office Gut Health Tests

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I'm Alissa!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.

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MSMonday: In Office Gut Health Tests

Last week we discussed how to test your gut health at home, for 0$. Now, if you’ve come to a crossroads, and feel like you need further testing, what do you do? Conventional medicine would have you go to a GI specialist, and more often than not they’d have you out the door in 7 minutes with a prescription for Prilosec, no matter what your symptoms were.

At least that’s what happened to me in the past.

I went to several GI docs, one I thought would be especially helpful (he was the “top doc” at the office). But when he listened to half my symptoms, then gave me a prescription for Prilosec, I was disappointed, to say the least! On top of that, when I asked him about testing to see if I ACTUALLY HAD LOW STOMACH ACID (which is what Prilosec is- a stomach acid blocker), he said he wouldn’t do it.

Needless to say, this is not an uncommon experience. Having very powerful GI meds just handed out like candy is unfortunately a common occurrence.

However, I digress.

Getting comprehensive gut testing done when things aren’t going as planned after being on a healing protocol for an extended period of time, is a great next step. As with most things, they do have their pros and cons, they won’t necessarily be a 100% answer to your questions, but they can be. And they can point you in a direction of further healing or further testing.

GI Map

The GI Map test is a comprehensive stool test that will give you a fairly good overview of what is going on in your gut. It tests for many bacteria, parasites, worms, fungi and viruses. One of the nice things about the GI Map test are you do not have to stop taking any medications prior to testing. The GI Map test will test for bacterial pathogens like C.Diff, parasitic pathogens like Crypto or Giardia. It will also give you a breakdown of your gut flora and if there is an imbalance present. H.Pylori, Candida, parasites, viruses and antibiotic resistant genes are also tested for. It will also test your intestinal health and inflammation status.

You have to be working with a licensed practitioner to order this test, you can not order it yourself.

Genova Diagnostics

Genova Diagnostics is a lab that has several gut health tests available. They have the GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Panel and the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis or CDSA. Both are helpful, but the GI Effects gives a little bit of a deeper dive into what’s going on. The GI Effects Panel gives you a nice chart that outlines each marker and how it is associated with common diagnoses. This is the main difference between the two tests. Both test for digestion and absorption markers, inflammation markers, gut flora and associated imbalances and parasites.

A big difference between Genova Diagnostics and the GI Map test is that Genova tests will tell you metabolic information, in other words, how well your body is processing and absorbing the food you’re eating. When I did the Genova GI Effects test in 2015, I found out that I wasn’t absorbing fats properly at all (a common occurrence). This led me to treat my GI issues differently.

You have to be working with a licensed practitioner to order this test, you can not order it yourself.

Doctors Data

Another comprehensive stool test (again they have a few to choose from- I looked at the Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology x3), and this has an added bonus of giving a several page description of your results. This test looks at bacteria and imbalances and associated dysbiosis. Yeast, bacteria or parasites present, digestion and absorption and immune markers. One thing interesting about this particular test is that it seems to go a bit deeper into digestion/absorption and immune markers. In the digestion/absorption section, it looks for “muscle” and “vegetable” fibers, which would indicate food that isn’t being digested properly and therefore not absorbed properly. In the immune section, it looks for a few other immune markers, specifically “lactoferrin” and “lysozyme”, both are helpful in distinguishing between IBD and IBS.

You have to be working with a licensed practitioner to order this test, you can not order it yourself.

Overall, these tests are very similar. You will have to work with a practitioner to determine which is the correct test for you. If I were to test again (which I probably will in the near future) I’d like to choose the GI Map test. That gives me the most detailed account of what I would like to be looking for and the most comprehensive data. But that’s me. What you might need could be different!

Also, when I say practitioner, I usually mean a Functional Medicine Doctor, Naturopath, Osteopath, Chiropractor or something to that effect. Conventional GI doctors don’t *normally* run these tests, but sometimes they will. And, these tests are pricey and usually not covered by insurance. Most will run you anywhere from $350-$500, depending on the doctor. Sometimes you can get your insurance to reimburse you, but usually only for partial payment. HUGE downside, I know.

But, it can be a big time saver when you’re in need of the correct treatment path, which also means a big money saver as well. So sometimes you have to weigh the pros and cons.

Have you had one of these tests done? Do you want to? Let me know!

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