Stool testing is a non-invasive method of evaluating the status of digestion, absorption, beneficial and imbalanced intestinal bacteria, a “leaky gut”, pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungus and parasites. It can determine need for probiotics to improve the intestinal flora, or identify pathogenic species of bacteria as are found in intestinal problems. A yeast infection or candida albicans is normally accompanied with yeast in the stool that can be identified and treated. Susceptibility to drug and natural remedies are reported.
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Assessment of intestinal ecology through stool culture techniques which include comprehensive bacteriology and yeast cultures to identify the presence of beneficial flora, imbalanced flora including Clostridium species, and dysbiotic flora, is an important step in identifying imbalances in intestinal micro flora. Sensitivities to a variety of prescriptive and natural agents are provided when pathogenic bacteria and yeast are cultured. This provides the clinician with important and specific clinical information to help plan an appropriate treatment protocol. The test is typically performed as a follow up after treatments initiated as a results of the Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology.
A good balance of beneficial micro flora has been known to be associated with health benefits since the turn of the century. At that time Metchnikoff drew attention to the adverse effects of dysbiotic gut micro flora on the host and suggested that ingestion of fermented milks ameliorated what he called “autointoxication”. He proposed that the consumption of large quantities of Lactobacillus species would reduce the number of toxin-producing bacteria and result in better health and increased lifespan.
Over the past 90 plus years there has been extensive scientific research demonstrating that a good balance of Lactobacilli, Bifid bacteria and beneficial E. coli bacteria are important to the functional health of the gut, and as a consequence, to the whole organism. The benefits identified include inhibition of microbial pathogens, prevention and treatment of antibiotic associated diarrhea, prevention of travelers’ diarrhea, reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms, reduction in serum cholesterol levels, enhancement of the immune system, and inhibition of the proliferation of Candida Albicans. Research has shown that improved biological value of food can be achieved through the activity of Lactobacilli Acidophilus and Bifid bacteria which have been reported to produce folic acid, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, biotin and vitamin K.
The mechanisms by which these benefits are derived are not yet fully understood. However, research suggests that some of the beneficial effects may be due to the following activities of beneficial bacteria:
- Release of substances antagonistic to enteropathogenic microorganisms such as lactocidin, lactobicillin, and acidolin
- Competition with pathogens for adhesion receptors
- Production of lactase
- Production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, propionate, and acetate
In a healthy balanced state of intestinal flora the beneficial bacteria make up a significant proportion of the total micro flora. However, in many individuals we see an imbalance of beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of non-beneficial or even pathogenic microorganisms (dysbiotic). This can be due to a variety of factors including: daily exposure to chemicals in our drinking water that are toxic to friendly bacteria; the use of antibiotics; chronic consumption of highly processed foods ( low in fiber, high in sugar) and high stress levels. Patients may present with chronic symptoms such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), fatigue, chronic headaches, and allergies to a variety of foods.
Bacterial sensitivities to a variety of prescriptive and natural agents are provided when pathogenic bacteria are cultured. This provides the clinician with important and specific clinical information to help plan an appropriate treatment protocol.
Infection with yeast species can cause a variety of symptoms, both intra- and extra- gastrointestinal, and may escape suspicion as a pathogenic agent in many cases. Controversy remains as to the relationship between Candida infection and episodes of recurrent diarrhea. However, episodes of yeast infection after short-term and long-term antibiotic use have been identified in patients with both gastrointestinal and vaginal symptoms.
There is some evidence linking yeast infections with more chronic extra-gastrointestinal conditions. Studies suggest that the production of antibodies against Candida Albicans may contribute to atopic dermatitis in young adults. Other studies have identified the potential role of candidiasis in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Identification of abnormal levels of specific yeast species in the stool is an important diagnostic step in therapeutic planning for the patient with chronic gastrointestinal and extra-gastrointestinal symptoms.
Yeast sensitivities to a variety of prescriptive and natural agents are provided when yeast is cultured at any level. This provides the clinician with useful clinical information to help plan an appropriate treatment protocol.
If you have further questions after receiving your report, a phone consult with Dr. Psonak is available for an additional fee.