A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) doesn't mean a lifelong sentence of managing symptoms.
There are many different aspects which impact IBS, from the foods you eat, to the gut bacteria present, overgrowths in the gut of bad bacteria and yeasts and including aspects such as your nervous system, environment, stress levels, hormones and liver function.
With so many options as to what might be causing or contributing to your IBS symptoms it can be a little bit overwhelming with where to start. That is where testing comes in. Functional testing is a vital tool that we have available to us, and now more than ever before the accuracy and accessibility of functional tests are better than ever.
What is functional testing?
Functional pathology tests are used to investigate biochemical, nutritional, metabolic and hormonal status within the body. They allow practitioners to get a deeper understanding of what is going on for the individual down to a cellular level. This assists with greater, more thorough treatment plans and outcomes for patients. They also allow for early intervention treatment to occur, and allow ongoing monitoring of conditions.
Why do functional testing?
- Clear cut results
- No second guessing what is happening within the body
- Clear markers for improvement. being able to test at the start of treatment and after treatment to see the results in black and white is not only important but so satisfying that you have been on the right path throughout treatment.
When to do it?
- When symptoms aren't providing a clear enough path for treatment.
-When there are so many symptoms it can be hard for your practitioner to decipher what factor is contributing to what symptom.
- When, as a patient, you need motivation to make a change- seeing results in black and white can be hard to ignore.
- When symptoms may be of a sub-acute nature. This means that you have had blood tests done through your GP and they have come back inconclusive. Functional testing allows us to delve a little bit deeper into what how the body is functioning.
What will the outcomes be?
-Clear treatment plans with specific therapies designed to target any pathology that was found. For example. When we do a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) it will look at all levels of bacteria- good and bad in the gut. If any bad bacteria is found then the test results provide treatments that are effective against the particular pathogenic bacteria. ie antibiotics and herbal constituents.
- If the tests come back clear then it is another differential that has been put to rest.
From an IBS perspective there are many different tests that can be considered.
The CDSA as described above looks at everything that is going on inside the gastrointestinal tract. It looks at how the body is breaking down its food, what strain the liver may be under, pH of the GIT, fibre levels, good bacteria levels, bad bacteria and yeasts that may be present as well as parasites.
It is one of my go -to tests as it provides so much insight as to what might be going on for the patient.
SIBO breath testing is also available and this can give you a really clear understating of the level of overgrowth that might be present within the gut. This can be a contributing factor to lots of food sensitivities as well as other digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.
IgG food intolerance testing can look at possible food intolerances that can be impacting overall health and wellbeing.
The best place to start however is with a comprehensive consultation wit your practitioner, who can then decide the most appropriate tests tests that may be needed for you're specific symptoms.