Poop jokes aren’t my favorite kind of joke but they’re a solid #2.
That joke should tell you partially why a stool test is one of my favorite things to do. It’s like a window to your health. They say you are what you eat, but you’re also what you (do or don’t) poop.
We talk about gut health a lot, which is why I’m sharing about one of my favorite stool tests. It’s an extremely thorough test called the GI360 that looks at the balance of normal bacteria, pathogenic (bad) bacteria, yeast, parasites, and gut function.
But before we get into specifics, let’s chat about why a stool test might be right for you.
What a Stool Test is For
Ideally, what we want to see in your gut is perfectly balanced bacteria without an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, or parasites.
Too much or too little of a good thing can cause problems. When out of balance, there are certain good bacteria that are related to inflammation, delayed gastric emptying, difficulty with carb digestion, bloating or abdominal pain, among others.
Basically, all of the bacteria in our gut play a vital role—and we want the gut to be like a pristine jungle. All the animals and plants are in perfect harmony and there are no poachers.
An in-depth stool test can show you more about your gut’s function. We’re able to see if the lining of your gut is inflamed, if your pancreas isn’t quite up to par, or if you’re lacking some important pieces of the gut lining.
How to Tell if You Need a Stool Test
The GI360 stool test is used for so many ailments outside of gut health, like:
- Gastrointestinal Symptoms
- Joint Pain
- Mucosal Barrier Dysfunction
- Autoimmune Disease
- Food Sensitivities
- Chronic or Acute Diarrhea
- Abdominal Pain
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Bloody Stool
- Fever and Vomiting
I have been surprised many times when we find something significant on the test when the patient’s main complaint is something such as body aches or brain fog.
The only con is that the test is slightly spendy—but it’s SO worth it when you consider the multitude of data points that we get. Most people that get this test have already done every test with a GI specialist and are still having symptoms. Luckily, we can accomplish a ton with this one test and it usually doesn’t have to be repeated.
What Your Results Might Mean for Your Diet
With our standard American diet, it is common to find imbalances. That’s why diet change alongside test results and supplemental support can be incredibly helpful for many people.
But gut changes are not like ordering at the drive through. They’re more like planting your own garden and waiting for veggies to grow.
Every person that does this test has to be prepared to possibly make diet changes. As diet is the backbone of your gut health, it is inevitable that a diet change will need to happen.
I have yet to encounter a completely normal result with the GI360. Some of the better results I’ve seen just require treatment of a bad bug while continuing the patient’s typical diet. Most have required adding many more veggies to help build the good bacteria.
If you feel like any of this hits home with you, reach out to us! Poop talk is our second language—and we’re ready to support you on your gut health journey.
Jenikka Tomashek is a Certified Nurse Practitioner with a doctorate degree in Nursing and 10 years of experience. She has a broad perspective on patient care: She started her career in small-town nursing in northern Minnesota and transitioned to inner-city emergency medicine. After four years in the ED, she made the switch to Internal Medicine where she has now been practicing for five years. During that switch was when she completed her doctorate at University of Minnesota.
Nursing, which Jenikka’s experience is grounded in, is founded on compassionate, dedicated patient care that also cares deeply about the individual and their story. She believes in the philosophy of finding and treating the root cause of symptoms, educating patients, and focusing on the prevention of future disease. Find out more about Jenikka and her expertise (she’s a diagnostic magician!) to see if she’s a fit for you.