Many common symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation are caused by improper function and imbalances in the gastrointestinal tract. Abnormal digestion, absorption, proliferation of disease-causing bacteria and fungi, and infestation with parasites not only cause gastrointestinal symptoms but also negatively affect your overall health. Many of these conditions as well as inflammatory processes often go undetected until they cause severe symptoms and require prolonged treatment. Traditional gastrointestinal tract testing is often prescribed rather late in the disease process and requires advanced imaging, uncomfortable testing procedures and significant expenses. Our Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology is easy to performed and provides valuable insights into your GI function and potential imbalances and may help diagnose conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), insufficient exocrine pancreas function and the presence of parasites.
What does Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology consist of?
- Pancreatic Elastase-1, a marker of exocrine pancreatic function
- Products of Protein Breakdown, markers of undigested protein reaching the colon
- Fecal Fats, markers of fat breakdown and absorption
- Putrefactive Short–Chain Fatty Acids (optional)
- Chymotrypsin (optional)
- Meat and Vegetable Fibers (optional)
- Eosinophil Protein X (EPX), a marker of eosinophil-driven inflammation and allergic response
- Calprotectin, a marker of neutrophil-driven inflammation; produced in abundance at sites of inflammation, this FDA-cleared biomarker has been proven clinically useful in differentiating between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Fecal Secretory IgA, a marker of gut secretory immunity and barrier function
- Fecal Lactoferrin, an indicator of intestinal inflammation (optional)
Gut Metabolic Markers
- Beneficial Short–Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) with n–Butyrate, a metabolomic indicator of GI microbiome health
- SCFA distribution
- Beta–Glucuronidase, an inducible enzyme involved in the metabolism and bioavailability of food and drug compounds; also produced by gut bacteria
- Secondary Bile Acids (optional)
- Lithocholic acid (LCA)
- Deoxycholic acid (DCA)
- LCA/DCA Ratio
Microbiome Analysis: DNA-based test
- 24 clinically relevant genera/species of Commensal Bacteria, demonstrating the composition, diversity, and relative abundance of gut organisms, all of which are linked to both gastrointestinal and general health
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methodology allows identification of anaerobic organisms that represent 95 % of all the gut species and are difficult to recover by the traditional culture technique
Microbiome Analysis: Bacterial and Mycological culture
- Demonstrates the presence of specific beneficial and pathological organisms
- Complements DNA-based tests to provide an expanded survey of gut microbiota (bacteria and fungi) beyond the specific organisms targeted by PCR
- Microscopic examination of fecal specimens for ova and parasites (O&P), the gold standard of diagnosis for many parasites
- Enzyme immunoassay (EIA), a reliable method of detection of pathogenic antigens
- Giardia lamblia
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Campylobacter (optional)
- Clostridium difficile (optional)
- Escherichia coli (optional)
- Helicobacter pylori Stool Antigen (optional)
- One-day or three-day sample collection available based on the level of suspicion for parasitic infection.
Macroscopic Analysis (color, mucus)
What are the most common symptoms and conditions that the results of Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology can explain?
Many illnesses are caused by multiple factors and different conditions may have similar symptoms. No single test, no matter how comprehensive can replace a thorough evaluation by a doctor. Nevertheless here are the most common indications for the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology:
GI Indications for Testing
Extra-intestinal Indications for Testing
How are the test results interpreted? What exactly do different markers show?
While the results of your Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology are interpreted by the doctor in conjunction with your medical history, symptoms, diet and other factors, here is a brief explanation how some of the markers work. During your post-test appointment, the doctor will go over the results in greater detail and answer any questions you may have.
Direct measure of pancreatic digestive enzyme output without interference from digestive supplements, changes in stool transit time or marker variability. Decreased exocrine pancreatic function – low levels of digestive enzyme output are associated with intestinal and extra-intestinal conditions such as gallstones, diabetes, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases. Testing for pancreatic elastase helps distinguish maldigestion caused by decreased pancreatic function from gastric causes. Bile acids play an important role in fat emulsion and fat absorption. High levels of some bile acids are associated with increased toxin buildup, increased risk of gallstones, and gastro-intestinal neoplasms.
Gut Immunology Markers
This quantitative analysis identifies mild, moderate or severe inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. Elevations of these markers are associated with infection (bacterial, viral, & parasitic), food allergy, NSAID enteropathy, protein-sensitive enteropathy, IBD, allergic colitis and neoplasia. For example, calprotectin is an important marker of gastrointestinal inflammation and can help to distinguish IBD & IBS, as well as other inflammatory conditions.
Abnormal levels of Short Chain Fatty Acids may indicate alterations in gut flora, insufficient dietary fiber, altered transit time and small bowel bacteria overgrowth. The chemistry markers identify imbalances that are associated with increased toxic burden within the colon, increasing long-term risk for colon and breast cancers.
Quantitative measures of the beneficial flora Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as additional flora, including strict pathogenic bacteria and potentially pathogenic and bacteria and yeast. An imbalance in GI flora is associated with various intestinal and extra-intestinal conditions.
Our parasitology exam not only detects but also quantifies all ova and parasites identified. It includes microscopic evaluation for yeast and blood cells.
Does your laboratory use up-to-date testing methods?
Yes, the laboratory implements the most modern scientific advances to assess gut health, including an optimized PCR molecular assay for anaerobic bacteria, Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) technology for identification of cultivable species, as well as premier biomarkers for stool-based gastrointestinal diagnostics.