One in ten of us Brits now has a diagnosis of IBS, and IBS symptoms are now one of the ...
Not so long ago, the only reason you’d get a stool test would be because your doctor wanted to rule out serious conditions like cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, or you’d just come back from Borneo with a case of parasite-induced diarrhoea.
Today, stool tests can do a lot more. While they’re still used to detect serious diseases and infections, massive leaps in technology and microbiology have opened up a whole new world: gut health testing. Read on to find out what the different types of stool tests could do for you and your gut.
How Long Does a Stool Sample Test Take on the NHS?
How Long Does it Take to get NHS Stool Test Results?
How Long does a Healthpath Stool Test Take?
How Long Does it Take to get Healthpath Stool Test Results?
What Does an NHS Stool Sample Show?
What Does a Healthpath Stool Test Show?
Why Should I Take a Healthpath Stool Test?
Do you need a stool test, or a stool analysis?
There are two elements to having an NHS stool test: collecting the sample yourself when you have a bowel movement, and testing the sample, which usually takes place at a laboratory.
A healthcare professional will explain to you how to collect the sample. You’ll usually get a clean, dry screw-top container to store your stool and a plastic container to use to ‘catch’ it. You should try not to get any urine in the sample.
This process is obviously pretty quick. You’ll then need to take the sample back to your GP surgery or hospital and then wait for the results.
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How long an NHS stool test takes completely depends on your individual case, like what your doctor is testing you for or where the sample is tested (on site or sent away to a laboratory). There are so many variables that there’s no standard answer.
If you’d like to know how long it will take to get your NHS stool test results, the best thing to do is ask your doctor or a member of staff at the surgery or hospital where you had the test.
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You prepare a Healthpath stool test in the same way as you would prepare one for the NHS: make your deposit and collect a sample of stool in a small container. The only difference is that instead of taking it to your GP surgery or hospital, you package it up in a sterile container provided with the test kit and send it to our laboratory for them to assess.
Everything you need for this process is included in the kit that we send you.
Healthpath stool test results take 14 working days. This covers:
The NHS use stool tests to detect or assess a huge number of conditions that we can’t fully cover here.
Some of the most common are:
The most common pathogenic bacteria include:
A Healthpath stool test is different to an NHS stool test.
Healthpath stool tests are comprehensive stool tests.
Comprehensive stool tests not only look at a broad range of microbes in your gut: bacteria, yeasts, archaea, parasites and even worms, but functional markers too, such as:
If you want insight into your overall gut health, or to find out why you’re suffering from uncomfortable gut symptoms, taking one of our stool tests could be a good idea. Together, the information on the types and levels of microbes in your gut along with the functional markers can help you to understand what’s going on in your gut.
Your gut does so much more than digest your food.
It has a role in making your neurotransmitters (chemicals that control your mood), it influences your hormones and it contains up to 80% of your immune system, among many other things.
Because so much goes on in your gut that affects the rest of your body, imbalances in your gut can cause problems in almost any area of your health. Some of the most common health conditions have strong links to gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in the trillions of bacteria and other microbes in your gut).
Gut dysbiosis is associated with anxiety: studies have found that by changing the gut microbiome, we can improve anxiety symptoms (Source: NCBI).
Certain types of bacteria have been linked to depression (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Gut microbes help regulate the immune system. With eczema, the immune system begins attacking the skin, with high levels of one particular microbe: Staphylococcus aureus, shown to trigger eczema flare ups (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
People with SIBO (an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine) often have rosacea. One study even found that treating SIBO cleared up rosacea (Source: PUBMED NCBI)
Many gut conditions are associated with psoriasis (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Interestingly, removing gluten from your diet could help the symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis, as this study, and others found (Source: NCBI).
Many studies have suggested that getting your gut healthy could prevent or even treat heart disease (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Gut dysbiosis causes inflammation, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease (Source: NCBI).
A huge amount of research has connected dysbiosis and Parkinson’s disease Right now, scientists are looking at new therapies that work through the gut microbiome (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Your gut microbiome and your immune system are so connected that it’s hard to separate one from the other. The vast majority of the cells that make up your immune system are in your gut (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
People with gut dysbiosis are more likely to suffer migraines (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Allergies are your body’s way of trying to get rid of something it sees as an invader: like pollen, dairy, or almost anything. Levels of dysbiosis in the general population have gone up alongside an increase in allergies (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Certain bacteria have been found to help or hinder immune system responses in people with asthma (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Scientists have discovered that tumours ‘communicate’ with the gut microbiome and vice versa (Source: NCBI).
Chronic fatigue syndrome patients have felt their energy levels increase after changes to their gut microbiome (Source: NCBI).
Restoring microbial balance to obese people has been shown to help them lose weight (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Your gut microbiome imbalance plays an important role in the progression of type 2 diabetes (Source: PUBMED NCBI).
Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition. Gut microbiome imbalance causes inflammation, which in the case of osteoarthritis, can happen in the joints (Source: NCBI).
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease often happens alongside obesity. Scientists are beginning to find answers in our gut microbiomes (Source: NCBI).
The bottom line (if you’ll excuse the pun) is that there are two main types of stool tests. The kinds of stool tests that you get through the NHS are very different to the stool tests that we offer at Healthpath. The NHS tests look for evidence of infection or disease.
Our stool tests look for and analyse a much wider range of markers. We’re not doctors, so we can’t diagnose any disease. Instead we’re looking for an all-round picture of the health of your gut, to help you understand why you could be suffering from uncomfortable symptoms and get you feeling better.
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Alexandra Falconer MA (Dist) DipCNM mBANT is a Registered Nutritional Therapist specialising in IBS and related conditions. A graduate of Brighton’s College of Naturopathic Medicine, she is committed to fighting the root causes of chronic illness and bringing functional medicine to everyone who needs it.
Before her natural health career, Alex was a journalist and copywriter. She continues to write for magazines and media agencies, and now combines her two great passions—writing and health—by creating content that empowers people to claim their right to a healthy body and mind.
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