April 26, 2019
Written by Marisol Teijeiro ND (inactive)
Medically reviewed by Victoria Williams R.H.N
Est. reading time: 12 minutes
Best Lab Tests to Help Treat Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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?
The labs that most conventional doctors use at this moment in time don’t give a definitive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. This is because it is a complex interplay of all the processes in our body. It is most often a reaction to stress in the body, whether emotional or physical, that creates an imbalance in the immune, nervous and hormonal systems.
This compounds and affects the natural digestive processes of the gut, causing inflammation, irritation, dysbiosis and lack of digestive factors that all contribute to and aggravate our symptoms2.
The big point here is that it is NOT just one thing causing IBS, and to treat it you need to have a MULTIFACTORIAL approach or it just won’t work.
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 age,3, 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.