Do you want to better understand your health, including potential health issues? A stool test is one of the best ways to evaluate your overall health and well being. Stool tests assess many different parameters, including pH balance, white blood cells, red blood cells, the presence of parasites and the ratio of beneficial bacteria to harmful bacteria. As part of an overall health strategy, understanding how to interpret stool test results can be helpful in both detecting and preventing potential health concerns.
What are the benefits of a stool test?
Stool tests provide valuable information about the bacteria present in the gut, which can be used to evaluate the overall health of the digestive system. By understanding your stool test results, you can identify areas of imbalance and address them before there are bigger health issues.
A stool test can also be used to diagnose certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, and intestinal parasites, as well as other gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The presence of specific bacteria can also indicate a predisposition to certain diseases, such as colorectal cancer.
What should you know before getting a stool test?
It’s important to collect the stool sample correctly in order to ensure accurate results. You will want to collect the sample in its most natural state, by gathering a mid-stream sample in a clean container. You can then follow the instructions provided by your doctor or health care provider on how to store and ship the sample so that it meets their laboratory guidelines.
Your doctor may also provide other instructions based on your medical history. For example, they may instruct you to follow a specific food or beverage regimen before collecting a sample.
How to interpret your stool test results
Your stool test results will typically provide an overview of the levels of beneficial bacteria, pH balance, and other parameters within the sample. In order to properly interpret the results, you will need to review the chart provided by the laboratory and understand the ranges associated with each parameter.
For instance, the pH balance in a healthy stool sample should fall within the range of 6.0 to 7.0. Values outside of this range can indicate an imbalance in the digestive system that can result in digestive issues, fatigue and other symptoms.
Additional tests to consider
In addition to a stool test, additional tests may be recommended to evaluate other body systems, including the liver, kidneys and the immune system. These tests can help to identify any underlying conditions, such as chronic digestive inflammation, which can make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and can lead to malnutrition.
Take control of your health with stool tests
Stool tests can provide valuable insight into the overall health of your digestive system. Understanding your results will help you to identify any potential problems, address potential underlying causes and make the necessary lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system.