Should I get a GI-Map Test Done?
If you clicked on this article, there's a pretty good chance that you’re dealing with gut related health issues and are looking for answers. Maybe you’re constantly bloated, maybe you have IBS, maybe you’ve suddenly had a bad case of adult acne pop up and you don’t know why. Maybe you’re hightailing it to the toilet with a case of the runs more days than you’d like to admit. Maybe you’re exhausted all the time and can’t seem to focus at work. So you decided to hunt for answers. You put the puzzle pieces together and understand that there is a significant correlation between the symptoms you are facing and the health of your gut. You’ve done your research, read articles, and realize that poor gut health could be at the root of your health challenges. For that I commend you. You’re already way ahead of the game.
But far too many people stop here. Aching for relief and having a basic idea of the problem, people do what they know to do: They go on a seven-day detox, buy expensive probiotic supplements, eat yogurt with live cultures, and hope that something changes. The problem is, if you’re dealing with a serious gut related issue, Activia yogurt and a One-A-Day probiotic isn’t going to change things. Gut related health issues are varied, unique, and complex. You need to know exactly what you’re dealing with and form a strategic treatment plan to fix the problem if you want to find relief. Fortunately, that’s where GI MAPPING comes in. You may already be familiar with it.
If not, here’s the quick version:
The GI MAP is a test that determines the underlying cause of issues like SIBO, IBS, celiac, Crohn’s and colitis by accurately testing for specific bacteria, fungus, candida, viruses, parasites and even normal flora (aka probiotic bacteria). It’s a game changer in helping you identify the exact source of your gut health issues. For many people it is the key in turning their health around and finding hope for the first time in years, or even decades.
Who Needs A GI MAP Test?
There are many people that are perfect candidates for GI MAPPING because it tests for such a wide variety of things. If you are dealing with any of the following conditions and are looking to get to the root of your issues, the GI MAP Test would be a perfect choice for you. If you're curious about the differences between GI-MAP and Viome stool test, click here.
Currently there are about 100 recognized autoimmune conditions as well as 40 other diseases that have an autoimmune component. The majority of your immune system is in your gut so it isn’t surprising that an unhealthy or damaged microbiome and leaky gut syndrome can be preconditions for autoimmunity. In integrative and functional medicine, we look to the gut first, especially when there is immune dysfunction. Stool testing is the most vital first step toward identifying the source of the problem in people with autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or lupus. There is a strong likelihood that someone with one or more of these conditions also has poor digestion, a gut pathogen, microbial imbalance, some spectrum of gluten sensitivity, or inflammation. When we are able to specifically identify which of these is the main culprit, we can be more accurate and strategic with the treatment plan. The GI-Map helps you zoom in on specific microbes that might be “confusing” the immune system.
“Irritable Bowel Syndrome” or IBS is a broad category. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often looks for a one-size-fits-all treatment for IBS without much success. Why? Because IBS is not one condition and therefore, there is not just one treatment. GI MAPPING is the best way to find out the underlying root cause of your IBS symptoms. It provides a whole range of markers that can provide a clear idea as to what is going on inside your large intestines that could be contributing to your IBS. It also gives you clues about other parts of the digestive system like the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Additionally, it provides conclusive answers on whether or not you have a dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the large intestine) and/or a gut infection caused by something such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, worms and yeast/fungus. Until you understand exactly what is irritating your bowels, you cannot effectively find relief.
Chronic Diarrhea or Constipation
This closely matches everything we talked about regarding IBS, but it’s worth mentioning in its own category. If you are dealing with chronic diarrhea or constipation, a GI MAP is one of your best options for getting to the root of exactly what is going on. If you have a serious problem going on in your gut, drinking MiraLAX in the morning isn’t going to fix anything. You need to know what is causing the problem. GI Mapping will give you conclusive answers.
Skin Problems Such as Acne and Psoriasis
Skin problems are one of the first early warning signs that indicate that something is going on beneath the surface. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and makes up 10 percent of your total body weight. It is also an active organ that has the vital role of detoxification. Your skin is not only the first defense to keep toxins at bay, but a permeable barrier that releases toxins through it (think of when you sweat). If you have inflammation, a high toxin load, or difficulty detoxing properly, it’s going to show on the surface of your skin in forms such as acne, psoriasis, rashes, eczema, or rosacea.
As a functional medicine practitioner and former victim of severe acne, I see many patients who struggle with skin problems. The one thing that all of them have in common is gut dysfunction. Your gut and your skin are bonded together through the gut-skin axis. Research has proven time and time again that underlying gut dysfunctions such as leaky gut syndrome, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), yeast overgrowth, all contribute to poor skin health. When your skin breaks out, this is your body’s way of alerting you to dig deeper and take a look at what’s going on below the surface. You can read more about this in my post entitled Sexy Gut, Sexy Skin - A Functional Guide to Clear Skin.
Brain Fog And Mood Disorders Such as Depression and Anxiety
Just as your gut and skin are connected, your gut and brain are also forever linked. They were formed from the same fetal tissue while you were growing in your mother’s womb and continue this special bond throughout your life. Interestingly, brain problems like anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, stress, and dementia can have all been linked to gut health issues. I believe we will see even more research emerge on this subject in the coming years. If you are constantly battling fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, depression, or anxiety, there is a distinct possibility that you are dealing with significant gut related issues without knowing it. It breaks my heart when people blame and shame themselves for the symptoms they are dealing with or are told that it’s “all in their head” when in fact there are real, physical issues that can be solved with the correct treatment plan. Having conclusive test results in front of you provides validation, hope, and a clear course of action to help you overcome these challenges that affect every aspect of life.
Weight Loss Issues
Rapid weight loss and malnutrition is a known side effect of serious gut related conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. But gut health also has a profound effect on weight gain and stubborn weight loss resistance as well. Researchers have found that the gut microbiome — the bacteria that help digest food and absorb nutrients in the intestines — can actually influence your ability to lose weight. Since your gut bacteria line your intestines, they come into contact with the food you eat. This may affect what nutrients you absorb and how energy is stored in your body. If you are dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome, you may have high levels of inflammation in the body. By making you more prone to insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, systemic inflammation can make weight gain easier and weight loss more difficult. Additionally, poor gut health may interfere with your body’s ability to regulate the hormones responsible for letting you know when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
So the answer to the question, “Should I get a GI MAP test done?” is simple. If you’re battling health issues that fall under any of the categories above and feel like you’re beating your head against a wall, not finding relief, or playing a constant guessing game about which supplements you should take or which food item you should exclude from your diet, the GI-MAP Test is for you. When you understand exactly what you are dealing with, the path toward relief, treatment, and healing will become clear.
If you think a GI MAP stool test could help correct your chronic GI issues, then I invite you to aFree Initial Consult with me to learn more about what the testing process and result analysis looks like. Click here to apply.