You may be familiar with “stool testing” – it’s all over social media, and it’s steadily increasing in popularity as people look to get a glimpse of what is going on inside their microbiome. Since it’s buzz-worthy at the moment, you know I had to share my experience with the LTYG community!
Again, as with everything I write, what I’m sharing with you comes from my own experience with this particular test. In no way am I saying you should or should not do these tests, as it’s a personal decision! I would just like to share my particular experience with you all today.
Jini actually wrote a fantastic blog on stool testing back in 2013, so I thought I would tack onto that with what I have learned – and new testing that’s come out since then!
Why a Stool Test?
The reason people use stool tests is to take a peek at what is going on inside of them. Unfortunately, the regular stool tests that western med doctors perform are not very thorough…so a lot is missed!
I had stool tests done by my gastroenterologist for years (before I found Jini), and even with a toilet full of blood the tests never showed ANYTHING. This was infuriating to me because frankly, that was impossible. With such extreme symptoms, there was no way there wasn’t an imbalance in my system!
If you’re familiar with my journey, I always knew my issues were fungal and bacterial related – so when I found Jini, I was elated! All that my gut had told me was right, as she explained that Crohn’s and Colitis is bacterial/fungal/virus related and not just some random disease or autoimmune disease that no one knows what to do with.
I was mystified by why testing was so difficult, so I did my own research on it and consulted my doctor. The test which was continuously brought to my attention by my care team (and those I really trusted) was the GI MAP test by Diagnostic Solutions. Those who recommended it to me were people I care deeply for and have the highest respect for – they know their stuff! So without hesitation, I decided to do the test.
My first test was during a severe flare of two years without relief. To my amazement, when the results returned all it showed was a few of my good bacteria being low, and that I was experiencing bleeding – which was quite evident already by my hemorrhaging! My team and I were shocked! The severity of my symptoms didn’t add up to what the test reflected, and I just knew there had to be more bacterial or fungal imbalances going on…
Here’s where it gets interesting.
I decided to repeat the test knowing that something was up. After doing more extensive research, I found that many people found it helpful to do a small, simple detox right before the test because then it’s more accurate.
“Ah-Ha!” I declared aloud.
I knew in my gut this is what had happened in my case. My detox pathways were blocked, so it quickly made sense to me that when I tested the first time nothing really showed up – because I was so blocked up!
My Second Test
Test number two came along (after my better preparation), and lo and behold…it showed MULTIPLE infections and imbalances. Everything I had always thought I had!
As I began to figure things out, it became clear to me that when testing for imbalances the pathogens needed to be “active” to be seen on my test. So a detox, or something similar, was really helpful to “kick up the dust,” so to speak, and get things active, so they showed up on the test. A good thing to keep in mind if you decide to give this a try yourself!
There’s a difference between “purging” and feeling miserable though, so be gentle if you decide to detox. And remember to always follow the directions on the test itself – these are just additional suggestions I found useful.
For me, using an infrared sauna has been so beneficial, but it detoxes me like crazy! A good thing, of course, but when I initially starting using it I also had to be near a restroom the following day. Since then, I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me balance that detox reaction – post on this coming soon!
My Detox Test Prep
In the weeks leading up to stool testing:
- I stopped any anti-pathogen treatment at least 1 week prior to the test, as I didn’t want all the “bad guys” killed and not reflected on my test.
- I stayed on a fairly liquid-only diet prior to the test. This is not required, but I wanted to make sure no food was going to change my test results. I also didn’t try any new foods during this time which could have possibly affected the test.
- I drank lemon in my water for a few weeks every morning before the test as well. This has numerous health benefits and helps to detox because creating a more alkaline environment can assist in “purging” things out. It stimulates bowel movements and digestion, so it may be beneficial for constipation, too.
- I personally didn’t take any new supplements or treatments before testing to ensure better accuracy.
I recently read it may be beneficial to stop using binders at least three days before your test. Similar to antipathogens, we don’t want the bad stuff removed before we test or it won’t be accurate!
The day before the test:
- I did a 30-40 min infrared sauna treatment and sweat a lot! Jini recommends just 5-7 minutes when first starting out, but I’ve slowly worked my way up to a more intense session.
- I kept my diet very basic and drank lots of water with the sauna treatment.
- I continued with the above protocol of not taking anti-pathogens, binders, etc. – anything that could inhibit the bacterial/viral/fungal growth or shedding.
After the sauna treatments, the next day I always detox! Knowing this, I purposefully took the GI MAP test that next morning when I basically was having diarrhea. Not fun, but boy did I get a good test – and that was so worth it!
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve learned a few tricks since then that have helped me balance that detox reaction – so keep your eyes peeled for a post on using binders with saunas (coming soon!).
My system is very sensitive, so my reactions are extreme sometimes. If you have ever had testing done and found it inaccurate, maybe try out these tips! If you’re searching for an underlying root issue (or issues), you may need a few of the above things to get those pathogens “active” and expressed when you test. And while the GI MAP diagnostic does not specifically test for things like Lyme Disease, if there are any pathogens attached with that disease, they could be expressed, as happened in my case.
Benefits of the GI MAP TEST
I pulled this info directly from Diagnostic Solutions Labs website, which I think nicely describes this test:
“Unlike other comprehensive stool tests on the market, the GI-MAP can provide practitioners with truly quantitative results. qPCR offers a much more accurate way to detect and quantify clinically-relevant organisms than standard PCR, culture, microscopy, or DNA sequencing-based methods.”
In my opinion, it is one of the most thorough tests I have ever done. With five pages worth of data all broken down on their site, you can see how in-depth it is.
Before doing anything, of course always consult your doctor – and your body too! Some insurance will cover this test, but it can be a challenge (in my experience) getting them to cover it, so keep that in mind.
According to Jini, the Goldberg Clinic also offers this testing, but Dr. Paul Goldberg takes the gut microbiota analysis one step further: Once he knows what you are infected with, he has the lab test to see which anti-pathogen agents are effective against your nasties. He has them test substances like colloidal silver, wild oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, and drug antibiotics!
The problem with stool tests is that our microbiome is constantly changing, so getting a clear picture of what’s actually going on can be a challenge. Pathogens go through life/half-cycles, which makes it harder to “catch them” in a test. Persistent infections or yeast/bacterial hybrids like MAP (mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis) can have a dormant/active lifecycle that can take 2-3 years to eradicate! Jini talks about this in her blog post: Help for Ongoing SIBO, IBS & Gut Issues.
And if you’re looking to get in touch with your gut microbes, join Jini and Dr. Juliet Ghodsian (who has also completely healed herself of Crohn’s Disease) as they chat about a completely different way to view ‘pathogenic infection.’
With all of this said, if you decide to try a GI MAP stool test I hope the above tips can prove helpful to you! Testing is not cheap, so it’s frustrating if it doesn’t work. I hope these tips will help you!
Keep in mind, sometimes stool tests are not necessary to treat root issues. On the other hand, for many people, it’s proven to be a great resource when choosing their treatment of choice. So do what is best for you and your gut!
What are your thoughts on stool testing? Do you have any experience with it? Please let me know in the comments, or you can email me at email@example.com if you’d like to share (but remain anonymous). 🙂
Until next time, happy healing – and always listen to your gut!