Yup, I know. Talking about poop and bowel movements is totally taboo. As a functional nutritionist recommending stool analysis on a daily basis, I often get weird glares when I talk about what I do for a living at a social gathering. In fact when someone tells me they’re grabbing a “stool” at the bar, my mind wanders to interesting places…

However, in the antibiotic ridden and toxic world that we live in, most of us are suffering from some type of imbalance in our gastrointestinal system. Whether you have digestive symptoms, bloating, rashes, hives, or even an autoimmune condition, gut imbalances can manifest for people in so many different ways.

The best way to understand what’s going on in our gut is through a comprehensive stool analysis. While it’s not the most glamorous procedure, the results are quite eye opening. Do you really need a probiotic? Do you have abnormal amounts of yeast? Are you the landlord of intestinal parasites?

Here are 5 signs that it’s time to get your gut checked:

  1. You’re not pooping every day. Maybe this has always been your “normal”. However, if you’re not having a bowel movement every day (or even every other day) toxins may be getting reabsorbed by your body. This is certainly a sign that you’re missing out on some of your good bacteria, fiber, and likely have an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria.
  2. You’re exhibiting some other type of digestive discomfort. This may range from consistently loose bowel movements, stomach cramping, bloating, indigestion, and hemorrhoids. Maybe you’ve even been diagnosed with IBS, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, or IBD. Even though most of us have these symptoms at some point, they’re not normal! Rest assured in knowing that the discomfort has a reason (and a solution).
  3. You’ve got skin issues. Do you have psoriasis? Eczema? Hives? Acne? Yes, your skin is a direct representation of your internal environment. Any of the above listed symptoms can be due to bacterial imbalances, yeast overgrowth, and even food sensitivities.
  4. You’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Studies show that imbalances in our gastrointestinal bacteria are directly related to inflammation and autoimmune conditions. This means that you can get control of your autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, Lupus, and even MS, through improving your gut health.
  5. You just feel like crap (no pun intended). Gut imbalances can also present as chronic fatigue, brain fog, lack of focus, and other symptoms that we all deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Just about everyone everyone can benefit from knowing what’s going on in one of the most mysterious places in the body. Testing through a stool analysis can take the guess work out of finding the proper diet and nutritional supplements that are right for you.

Be aware that many conventional stool analysis only look at one type of bacteria or parasite. I find that using a Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology done through a specialty lab gives the most thorough information. A functional nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner can order these labs for you and help you interpret the results. Once you know what’s there, restoring proper gut balance is simple!