If you’ve ever suffered from a digestive disorder or experienced bouts of unexplained nausea or diarrhea, then you may have been asked to submit a stool sample to a doctor. And for good reason. A stool analysis can yield lots of useful, interesting information.
A thorough analysis of what leaves your body can help identify why you have diarrhea or excess gas. It might also shed light on unexplained weight loss or tummy pains. Stool tests can also help to diagnose things like:
- Problems with the pancreas, the organ that releases enzymes to help break down food particles
- Fat malabsorption, when your body can’t absorb fat particles properly
- Certain infections, like E. coli or colitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
State of health
But there’s more. The appearance of your stool can also say a lot about your state of health. For example, the color, consistency, or regularity of your stools can give hints into how your digestive system is responding to something you ate (or drank). It can indicate whether or not you’re well hydrated, how you’re handling stress, and how your body is processing a new medication. If you think that’s impressive, keep reading. The microscopic level is where things really get interesting…
The bacteria inside your stool can tell a story about your life—where you’ve traveled, the illnesses you’ve overcome, whether or not you grew up on a farm, and even how you made your entrance into the world, c-section or naturally!
All the bacteria (and other tiny critters) living in your gut are known as the gut microbiome. A microbiome analysis provides a snapshot of life inside the gut at a given time. Some of the microorganisms are good guys. They keep you healthy and boost your immune system. Some are not so good. And when things go wrong, it might be because these not-so-good microbes have grown out of control.
How to find out what’s going on
Whatever organisms are currently calling your gut home, a stool sample will show their presence. A stool test is a quick and easy way to get a breakdown of your microbiome, to see how yours compares to healthy averages, and to find out which diet and lifestyle changes can improve the balance of good and bad microbes in your gut.
GutCheck: Let’s see what you’re made of…™
In 2019, Vivante Health added GutCheck, the at-home microbiome test kit, to our GIThrive digestive health program. Research shows bacterial diversity in the gut is linked to better health and symptom control. But everyone’s gut ecology is different—there’s no one-size-fits-all fix. Achieving a balanced microbiome requires a personalized approach. The first step is a microbiome analysis.
GutCheck results are easy to understand. We compare results to healthy averages and give members simple, actionable tips for improvement.