What's Up With Your Stool?

In every police crime drama, the main characters will sometimes turn to mining forensic gems from a criminal's garbage. Sifting through the waste to find a telling bit of evidence and analyzing what is or isn’t in the garbage to discover telling abnormalities. You’d think because it was waste, it wouldn’t give much information, but it could be the deciding factor in whether the bad guy gets away with a crime or not.

Stool, your body’s waste, can also provide that ‘lightbulb’ piece of information, pointing a finger at bad guys and directing the good guys in the right direction.

Stories Your Stool Can Tell

1.    There should be a healthy balance between beneficial, commensal, and pathogenic organisms in the gut. If the population of pathogenic organisms is high, a good stool test will identify the most appropriate pharmaceutical or natural treatment agents.

2.     Fecal pH, or the acid/alkaline balance can indicate poor digestive health, inadequate intake of fiber and low levels of beneficial colonic flora. The stool pH should be on the acidic side so when the pH is too alkaline, it may be linked to an increased occurrence of colon and breast cancer.

3.     In many cases, disorders of the GI tract can be linked to intestinal malabsorption. Looking at the proportion of fecal short-chain fatty acids can determine if bacterial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates and amino acids is producing enough energy for the epithelial cells of the colon and may show the presence of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and even colon cancer.

4.     One of the simplest determinants of a stool test is whether your gut is breaking down food properly. The presence of undigested food like vegetables or protein can indicate a lack of specific enzymes vital for digestion.

5.     Inflammation can significantly increase intestinal permeability and compromise assimilation of nutrients. The extent of inflammation, whether caused by pathogens or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can be assessed and monitored by examination of the levels of biomarkers.

When digestive issues are making you feel not quite yourself, include a comprehensive stool analysis in your detective kit and find out what your stool is trying to tell you.