The gastrointestinal tract is made up of trillions of bacteria that help us digest food and eliminate waste products.
When the intestinal flora becomes disrupted, it sets the stage for complaints and illnesses such as bloating and esophageal reflux, as well as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Inadequately digesting food leads to a condition called dysbiosis, which is the alteration of the normal bacterial content of the small and large intestines.
This also impairs the immune system because the largest quantity of white blood cells — the body’s main immune cells — occurs in the GI tract.
There are clinical laboratories that specialize in testing for dysbiosis. At these labs, stool can be collected and cultured for growth. Laboratories that I have used in my practice include Doctor’s Data, Genova, and Metametrix.
In patients suffering from severe gastrointestinal distress, a stool culture from a specialized laboratory can be a great tool for diagnosing a case of dysbiosis.
Getting a stool culture usually ranges in cost from $100 to $300 dollars. Sometimes medical insurance covers these tests.
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