Why does the gut matter for PCOS? Here are a few reasons:
Indigestion can equate to nutrient deficiencies
- An unbalanced bacterial environment in the gut can cause excess hunger & carb cravings
- The inflammation produced by internal parasites and food sensitivities stresses other body systems.
The tricky thing about the gut is that you may not complain of digestive symptoms. But poor health in the gut can manifest in myriad ways- from headaches to moodiness and fatigue.
How Can You Learn if Your Gut is Stressed?
There are many types of tests for gut health. I'll discuss three here:
1. Genova Intestinal Permeability Test
This is an easy at-home urine test that measures both how leaky your gut may be (letting large particles into your blood stream) and how well you are absorbing nutrients (if your gut surface too clogged to let them pass.)
To perform this test, you drink a sweet liquid in the morning, containing a small and large sugar molecule. The small molecule (representing a nutrient) “should” get through your gut barrier. The large molecule (representing a large peptide or immune complex) should not get through the gut barrier.
Seeing the amount of each type of molecule left behind in your urinary waste informs you of the health of your gut barrier. You can then set about healing that gut barrier, reducing chronic inflammation and getting the most out of your food.
2. Biohealth 401 H Stool Test
You know you’re getting down and dirty when you’re doing a stool test! In this test, done at home, you collect stool (involving things like a paper plate, gloves and a spork) over three days or three bowel movements.
While collecting these samples may not be too fun, getting the results is definitely worth it.
This test is strong at identifying H Pylori infection, intestinal parasites, and a basic level of gut dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance.) In some cases, it can pick up Candida as well.
These infections are much more prevalent than you think, and can go undetected for decades without proper testing!
If you have been dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, this test can be quite helpful in devising a protocol with your practitioner to finally resolve it.
3. Leap MRT 150 Food Sensitivity Test
This final test does require a participating lab to collect your blood. Your blood is then tested for it’s inflammatory reaction to 150 foods and food additives. If your blood produces inflammatory cytokines, histamines, prostaglandins, etc., then you have a sensitivity to that food.
Imagine you are unwittingly eating 20 different foods that cause inflammation each time you ingest them. That’s a real stress on the body, and could contribute to endocrine disorder.
Avoiding those 20 foods, however, can be sweet relief. It’s advised to remove your food sensitivities for at least 3 months, then you may try eating them again if desired. Your test results come with a handy laminated list of your food sensitivities, plus a book about how the test works, and what to do with your diet.
One thing I learned in the book was the categories of problem foods:
Food Sensitivities: foods that cause an inflammatory response (what this test covers)
Food Allergies: foods that trigger mast cells and basophils to produce a massive IgE reaction (think anaphylactic shock)
Food Intolerances: foods that you can’t digest well due to your own digestive weakness
Getting functional tests run can really shed some light on your symptoms. As our gut plays such a central role in our health, getting our gastrointestinal system in tip top shape can help to alleviate many conditions, including PCOS.
Chronic inflammation fuels the fire of a continual PCOS pattern. Imagine what eliminating chronic stressors in the gut could do to eliminate that chronic inflammation and restore health.
A healthy gut can also help to prevent and manage autoimmune diseases, which commonly have a link to leaky gut.
In my opinion, this type of testing, followed by a lab-guided protocol, is one of the most powerful investments you can make in true, long-term healing. To learn more about our services, please see our services page.
To Your Health,
Bridgit Danner, LAc