Best Lab Tests to Help Treat Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Written by: Marisol Teijeiro N.D. (inactive).
Medically reviewed by: Victoria Williams R.H.N.
Est. reading time: 11 minutes.
So you’ve been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Now what??
Why is IBS a Functional Bowel Movement Disorder?
Irritable bowel syndrome is classified as a chronic functional bowel movement disorder because it is diagnosed by the symptoms that you are experiencing. These are typically abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, often diarrhea or constipation1. Other digestive diseases that can be seen by colonoscopy or confirmed by lab tests are often excluded before IBS is diagnosed.
Why Can’t Labs Tell Me That I Have IBS?
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Why should I test for IBS?
Since irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic, long term disease, being proactive in this way helps to stay on top of things and avoid the frustration and suffering of living with uncomfortable symptoms.
It is important to do tests to rule out other conditions; when the diagnosis is clear, it is easier to direct and guide treatment and to track improvements.
Are There Functional Tests for IBS?
Yes, there are things that can be tested, but again, it is a whole-body approach.
What Is the Point of Testing in IBS?
First off, it’s important to do tests to rule out other conditions. When the diagnosis is clear, I test irritable bowel patients in order to track improvements and direct and guide treatment.
Since irritable bowel is a chronic, long term disease, being proactive in this way helps to stay on top of things and avoid the frustration and suffering of living with uncomfortable symptoms.
Stress Hormone Testing Cortisol and ACTH
Research demonstrates that people with irritable bowel syndrome, mainly women, with onset at a younger age3, will have it for the greater part of their lives.
They typically also have an imbalance in their nervous system and stress response.
Stress markers of cortisol in the blood can be tested and show a difference between men and women as well as between healthy and unhealthy subjects4.
However, this is a costly test and is not common protocol for irritable bowel syndrome.
Salivary or urine cortisol markers can also be used to measure this, and they are my markers of choice. Research demonstrates that there is a significant difference in cortisol (stress hormone) markers in the morning and evening, and in general there was a higher spike in the a.m. and lower in the evening. The pattern of circadian rhythm night and day curve was still maintained5.
These tests can be purchased on YourLabWork.com.
Sleep is often something that is a complaint for women with IBS and there seems to be a difference between the type, whether it be IBS-D (diarrhea predominant) or IBS-C (constipation predominant)6. Sleep is something that normally balances our regulatory systems as it helps to reset the immune, nervous and hormonal systems.
Wearing an eye compress to bed at night helps support natural melatonin production, without having to take a supplement. Would you love to have your own sleep compress so you can sleep better naturally?
The Castor Oil Eye Compress Kit uses Castor Oil applied around the eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows, covered by a sleep mask. This has a relaxing effect on the system and improves natural melatonin levels, helping you to get a good night’s sleep. You will note over time, visible differences in sleep quality with using a mask7.
Inflammation Testing in IBS
Inflammation is a key component in IBS. Inflammation may be sourced from food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances, or choices of food, such as fermented foods that have high levels of histamine and act as an irritant to the gut. Inflammation is a root cause of all diseases and when there is imbalance in any system there is always inflammation.
Ferritin, the storage molecule for iron can also be a key indicator of acute inflammation. It is important to test in combination with a complete blood count (CBC) as well as an iron panel to make sure you rule out any other reasons for an elevated level of Ferritin.
There are certain key markers that are indicative of inflammation. Firstly, high sensitivity C reactive protein (HS-CRP). This marker is not often tested, however, levels have been noted to be higher in those with irritable bowel syndrome as compared to the healthy population8.
Cholesterol is also one of the markers of inflammation.
A complete blood count (CBC) is always important to do as well, because it demonstrates a variety of markers. With regards to inflammation, eosinophils are a marker of allergy and when they are elevated it’s an indicator that there is elevated histamines in the body10.
It’s most commonly correlated to parasite infection, which is something to be considered in irritable bowel syndrome, since the onset of IBS can be due to a gastrointestinal infection11.
Food sensitivity testing is in a class of its own. It can demonstrate inflammatory processes in the gut as well as immune reactivity. When aiming to fix an irritable bowel, it’s important to understand that there are so many things that can be irritating it.
Food is the biggest irritator and since we eat food every day, it’s very important to address this to reduce inflammation.
There are different tests for IBS, the food sensitivity testing in this lab in the US is one of the most recommended to measures your IgG reactivity levels.
Can You Test for Dysbiosis and The Microbiome?
You absolutely can, and uric acid (a key indicator of gout) is an excellent marker to use for dysbiosis or an unhealthy microbiome12. Uric acid is a good indicator of microbiome health because it shows improper metabolism of protein, typically due to unhealthy gut bugs.
Another test is the Organic Acids Test (OAT), which tracks overgrowth of yeasts as well as possible clostridium infections which aids in the support of people with IBS.
There are also recent novel tests that will actually classify the types of healthy v.s. pathogenic microbes in your microbiome. This research is in its infancy.
What Should You Test?
Here is your dream test list, so you can rule out other sources of pain in the intestine:
- Serum Electrolytes
- Liver Enzymes, ALT, AST, ALP GGT
- Urobilinogen, direct and indirect
- Blood Lipids/Cholesterol
- eGFR and Creatinine
- Uric acid and urea
- Iron panel including Ferritin
- TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Antibodies for Thyroid
- Dutch Hormone Test
- Food Sensitivity Testing
- OAT Test
What to Do While You’re Waiting to Get Your Tests Done?
Start working on a solution!
Start a new self-care ritual so you can begin to work on the stress component by balancing your body’s stress hormones by doing a Castor Oil Pack for Liver. It will reduce inflammation, help the body to cleanse, get the bowels moving and significantly reduce pain in the gut. The Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Pack for Liver Kit helps you get a great night’s sleep.
In addition, you can add the simple step to your sleep ritual by wearing an eye compress to bed. As mentioned before, this will help to increase the body’s natural melatonin production, improving quality of sleep. Get your Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Eye Compress Kit to improve your sleep.
You see, adding these two simple steps to your self-care rituals will help if you can start to reduce your stress, address the inflammation, cleanse, poop and sleep then you will be able to get a clearer picture of what is going on.
Peek After You Poo
Another simple step you can do is start peeking at your poo. It’s important for you to see what’s going on in your toilet bowl and the best part? You’ll have a better idea of what to tell your doctor. Because let’s face it, lab tests start to get quite expensive. For the full panel above you could be looking at anywhere between $1500-$2500 per shot, so why not learn what your poo is saying about you? It is an easy daily at-home test, totally free!
Use Queen of the Thrones® Eau de Throne® Organic Essential Oil Spray the ‘After You Poo Parfum to get into the habit of peeking after you poo and allow the blend of organic essential oils to ensure that you will never be embarrassed again for the smell you leave behind!
For a better understanding of what your poo says about you;
Start today! Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you can do today. This is your health, your life, your body and it’s time for you to know and understand what is going on.
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1. Bandar Mohammed Bardisi, Abdulaziz Kamal H. Halawani, Hassan Kamal H. Halawani, Aseel Hassan Alharbi, Nesma Saleh Turkostany, Taraji Saeed Alrehaili, Aisha Ahmad Radin, and Nasser Moqbil Alkhuzea. Efficiency of diet change in irritable bowel syndrome. J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Sep-Oct; 7(5): 946–951.PMID: 30598938
2. Emanuele Sinagra, Gaetano Cristian Morreale, Ghazaleh Mohammadian, Giorgio Fusco, Valentina Guarnotta, Giovanni Tomasello, Francesco Cappello, Francesca Rossi, Georgios Amvrosiadis, and Dario Raimondo New therapeutic perspectives in irritable bowel syndrome: Targeting low-grade inflammation, immuno-neuroendocrine axis, motility, secretion and beyond. World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Sep 28; 23(36): 6593–6627.PMID: 29085207
3. Ju Yup Lee and Kyung Sik Park. Gender Difference in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Korean J Gastroenterol. 2018 Oct 25;72(4):163-169. doi: 10.4166/kjg.2018.72.4.163.
4. Elizabeth J. Videlock,a Wendy Shih,b Mopelola Adeyemo,a Swapna Mahurkar-Joshi,a Angela P. Presson,c Christos Polytarchou,a Melissa Alberto,a Dimitrios Iliopoulos,a Emeran A. Mayer,a and Lin Changa,* The effect of sex and irritable bowel syndrome on HPA axis response and peripheral glucocorticoid receptor expression.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Jul; 69: 67–76.PMID: 27038676
5. Patacchioli FR1, Angelucci L, Dellerba G, Monnazzi P, Leri O. Actual stress, psychopathology and salivary cortisol levels in the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). J Endocrinol Invest. 2001 Mar;24(3):173-7.
6. Robert L. Burr, MSEE, PhD, Research Professor,a Monica E. Jarrett, PhD, Professor,a Kevin C. Cain, PhD, Research Scientist,b Sang-Eun Jun, MS, Doctoral Candidate,a and Margaret M. Heitkemper, PhD, Professora. Catecholamine and Cortisol Levels during Sleep in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Nov; 21(11): 1148–1e97.PMID: 19573081
7. Rong-fang Hu, Xiao-ying Jiang, Yi-ming Zeng, Xiao-yang Chen, and You-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Crit Care. 2010; 14(2): R66.PMID: 20398302
8. Keren Hod, MSc,1,2 Tamar Ringel-Kulka, MD MPH,3 Christopher F. Martin, MSPH,2 Nitsan Maharshak, MD,4 and Yehuda Ringel, MD*,2 High Sensitive C – Reactive Protein as a Marker for Inflammation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.J Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Mar; 50(3): 227–232.PMID: 25930973
9. Tall AR, Yvan-Charvet L. Cholesterol, inflammation and innate immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Feb;15(2):104-16. doi: 10.1038/nri3793.
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11. Wouters MM, Van Wanrooy S, Nguyen A, Dooley J, Aguilera-Lizarraga J, Van Brabant W, Garcia-Perez JE, Van Oudenhove L, Van Ranst M, Verhaegen J, Liston A, Boeckxstaens G Psychological comorbidity increases the risk for postinfectious IBS partly by enhanced susceptibility to develop infectious gastroenteritis. Gut. 2016 Aug;65(8):1279-88. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309460. Epub 2015 Jun 12.
12 Zhuang Guo, Jiachao Zhang, Zhanli Wang, Kay Ying Ang, Shi Huang, Qiangchuan Hou, Xiaoquan Su, Jianmin Qiao, Yi Zheng, Lifeng Wang, Eileen Koh, Ho Danliang, Jian Xu, Yuan Kun Lee, and Heping Zhang, Intestinal Microbiota Distinguish Gout Patients from Healthy Humans Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 20602.PMID: 26852926 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757479/
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Fecal Calprotectin is the test to diagnose IBS, and early diagnosis and treatment can help with cure before it goes to worse.