I did. In fact, two different times my intestines harbored harmful bacteria. The symptoms of both infections were minor—belching and craving carbs. No gastrointestinal distress occurred. So how does a person know if they have a bug in their gut?
Stool tests diagnose unfriendly microbes. Have you ever had a stool test? Most people have not because physicians do not order this test unless you are showing symptoms of a parasitic infection. There are harmful bacteria other than parasites that can inhabit a person’s gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract. Previously, I had an overgrowth of Candida. You can read about that in my blog, What is a Candida Overgrowth? Learn How to Treat Gut Issues.
If a person exhibits symptoms of an ulcer, severe gastrointestinal distress or bleeding, then a colonoscopy or upper G.I. is performed. However, a simple, noninvasive stool analysis provides a portrayal of an individual’s gut health (microbiome). So why aren’t noninvasive stool analyses performed more frequently as part of a preventive check-up, just like a blood test?
Harmful Gut Microbes
Last year, my functional medicine practitioner ordered a stool test called a G.I. Map. This test checked for:
- harmful bacteria, viruses, and yeast
- bacteria that may trigger an autoimmune disease
- normal beneficial microorganisms
- gluten sensitivity
- gastrointestinal secretory gland functioning (how well you digest food)
This test revealed that harmful bacteria called helicobacter pylori (H-pylori) inhabited my digestive tract. H-pylori is a common bacteria that over half of the population has but does not know it. For years this bacteria can live in your body before you exhibit symptoms (bloating, burping, nausea, heartburn, and sometimes ulcers). The only symptom I had was burping after meals—that’s it. If you don’t experience symptoms, your doctor will probably not test you for it. You can have a breath test to check for H-pylori too.
My doctor recommended an over the counter holistic medicine to kill the bacteria. It did not work. She then prescribed a triple treatment with two antibiotics and a protein pump inhibitor. It was tough taking these three caustic medications for two weeks.
Antibiotics kill harmful and beneficial gut bacteria. Therefore, I took three different probiotics, a different one each day, to re-inoculate my digestive tract. I also ate sauerkraut because you can’t get all your probiotics from a supplement; some must come from food. Finally, I took a candida cleanse, Biocidin, to kill the yeast, Candida. This yeast overgrows once antibiotics have killed the good microbes. In three months, my doctor will repeat the G.I. Map stool analysis to ensure the antibiotics killed the H-pylori bacteria. If the H-pylori is not gone, I will need to repeat the triple treatment with different antibiotics. Ultimately, H-pylori could lead to gastric cancer, so it is vital to get this bug out of your gut.
The gastrointestinal microbiome is a delicate balance of beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and yeast. When the bad guys grow beyond normal limits, your microbiome is imbalanced (dysbiosis). Unfortunately, modern medicine is just beginning to understand the G.I. tract’s importance to a person’s overall health. A well-balanced microbiome fights off invaders (bacteria, viruses, and allergens). The troop of beneficial microbes in your intestinal tract protects you when an attacker tries to invade your body. If you have a healthy gut, you get sick less often.
An imbalance of the microorganisms in your gut may cause digestive problems such as stomach pain, bloating, belching, diarrhea, and constipation. Moodiness, anxiety, and depression are also associated with the microbiome being upset. The world inside your gastrointestinal tract affects many parts of your body.
You can improve your microbiome by eating probiotic-rich foods or supplements, avoid processed and high-sugar foods, and eat the foods that God gave us. Eat fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, nuts, and seeds close to their form after harvest. You have the power to balance your microbiome, so your body functions the way God intended.
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