testing for irritable bowel syndrome

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.
Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been conventionally defined not by what it is, but by what it is not, therefore successfully discovering its cause has been impossible, because the cause was thought to be unknown.

It’s really been nothing more than a guessing game, and you get to be the guinea pig. Fortunately that has now all changed.

Now we can define the cause of your IBS, and therefore treat it. IBS symptoms are almost always caused by either food allergies, bacterial imbalances, yeast, or parasites.

If you want to learn more about these topics and how they relate to IBS, then this website is for you. You may also refer to the book, The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution.

Two kinds of tests are recommended for nearly all IBS patients – food allergy testing, which is a blood test; and testing for bacteria, yeast, and parasites, which is done by stool testing.

Problems in any of these areas can alone cause IBS, but it is very common to have a combination of both a food allergy and a microbial issue.  There are other causes, of course.  But these tests capture the primary causes for the majority of patients and are therefore a great place to start.

These blood and stool tests provide an easy way to get a lot of information about the patient. These tests are available, reasonably straightforward, and affordable, especially when you consider the benefit of having better health for the rest of your life. There is no need to continue wondering, guessing what is wrong and blindly spending money trying to find something that will help you.

You can know what is causing your IBS.  And then you can do something that will end your IBS for good.

At the IBS Treatment Center we have physicians who are expert at treating IBS, and we use state-of-the-art testing to help us learn how best to treat you. You will be given a copy your test results, and extensive counseling on how to understand your results and successfully eliminate your IBS. We regularly work with patients around the U.S. and around the world.

Get in touch and start feeling better!

CONTACT THE IBS TREATMENT CENTER: Info@IBSTreatmentcenter.com or toll-free 1.888.546.6283.

Get Your Lab Results!

(img thanks to wikimedia/creative commons)
(img thanks to wikimedia/creative commons)

Have you ever been to the doctor and had blood taken for laboratory tests?

Do you always get your lab results? Do you even hear back at all from the doctor?

All too often in medicine people have lab tests run and then never learn the outcome of those tests. It’s tempting to assume that no news is good news and therefore everything is normal, but we all know what can happen when you assume things.

You may be surprised to learn that it is quite common for patients to be unaware of positive lab results from tests run by their doctors. This isn’t usually the case with regard to procedures such as colonoscopies, endoscopies, and biopsies, but patients are more likely to be uninformed of the results of blood tests.

One example of this is anemia. Several times per year, while reviewing lab records that patients have brought with them, we will notice the presence of an anemia (iron deficiency) that had not been disclosed to the patient. Upon asking, “Did you know you were anemic?” or “How did you treat your anemia?” they will respond with disbelief, or “What anemia?”

Why does this happen? That is an excellent question.

Maybe it was overlooked. Maybe it wasn’t seen as all that important. Neither answer is acceptable, but unfortunately it is not the standard of practice for all medical professionals to review all lab work with patients. This is the opposite of our standard at the IBS Treatment Center.


(image thanks to steamboattoday.com)

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems, then it’s very possible that you have a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract.

We (at the IBS Treatment Center) are proud to be one of the few clinics in the country where you can now get DNA testing to measure the presence of the bacteria, yeast and parasites in your digestive tract, which we covered yesterday. Today we’re going to review the GI Function Panel.

The Comprehensive GI (gastrointestinal) Function Panel includes everything in the DNA Microbial Profile as well as several other tests that evaluate the overall function of the digestive tract. These tests include inflammatory markers, digestive markers, measurement of absorption, pH, occult blood, and several other tests. Each is described below.

Inflammatory Markers

Beneficial Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

Beneficial SCFA come from dietary carbohydrates that have escaped digestion or absorption in the small intestine. They are also produced by bacteria in the large intestine via the fermentation of fiber. The production of SCFA in the intestine plays an important role in maintaining the intestinal lining. Beneficial SCFA include acetate, propionate, and butyrate. They affect the bacteria of the colon as well as the health of the colon and the entire body.

Lactoferrin is released in inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It can help to differentiate between IBS and these conditions, and to monitor improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases.

WBC (White Blood Cells)

White blood cells indicate inflammation in the digestive tract.

Excess mucus indicates infection, inflammation, or injury of the lining of the digestive tract.

Digestive Markers

Elastase 1

Elastase 1 is a pancreatic enzyme that survives passage through the digestive tract. It is used to measure pancreatic insufficiency.


Small amounts of triglycerides, are normal. Higher levels indicate incomplete fat digestion and possible insufficient pancreatic enzymes, insufficient bile, or hypochlorhydria.

Putrefactive Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

These SCFA result from the bacterial fermentation of inadequately digested branch chain amino acids. High amounts of these SCFA (which are valerate, isovalerate, and isobutyrate) suggest the maldigestion of protein.

Vegetable Fibers
Fibrous residue of undigested vegetable matter suggests possible maldigestion.


(image thanks to telegraph.co.uk)

For several decades skin testing has been the standard way to test for allergies. The potential allergen is injected under or scratched into the skin, and any resulting inflammation (also known as wheal) is measured. The size of the wheal supposedly determines whether or not an allergy is diagnosed. This technique leaves a lot to be desired because we don’t inject food into our skin when we eat, nor do we necessarily get a red bump when we have a food allergy. This is also a subjective test. There is no scientific standard for the amount of swelling required for a positive result.

Equally important, this test can measure only an IgE antibody reaction. And even so, it often is negative, missing elevated IgE levels that are evident with a blood test. The IgG antibody is not tested for at all.

Many people are incorrectly told after skin testing that they do not have a particular food allergy. Others seem to react to everything that is tested. Skin testing is probably relevant only for life threatening (anaphylactic) types of food allergies, but in these cases the patient often already knows that he or she has the food allergy.

A more accurate way to detect most food allergies is through ELISA (ee-LIE-za) testing of the blood. This test measures the actual amount of both IgE and IgG in the blood. ELISA stands for Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay, a big fancy phrase for a laboratory procedure in which antibodies are detected and measured. This very specialized procedure is performed only by doctors trained in recognizing and treating food allergies. It is run only by specialized labs equipped to handle such sophisticated testing.

Image thanks to telegraph.uk


Researchers used to think that most of our DNA was not actually doing much. Now they realize that this hugely complex, incredibly vast set of DNA information is actually doing very important work. 

If we learn to better understand evolution, we’ll understand that everything means something important. For example, our appendix is an important organ, not some meaningless appendage. And our gallbladder is very useful too. Yet when we don’t understand or appreciate an organ or even our DNA, then we assume that it is useless.

We know that just having a gene is often not enough to cause a disease.  Now we have a much better insight as to why – the rest of the DNA is controlling whether that gene is even being used and to what extent. 

Excerpt from NYTimes.com:

“In one of the Nature papers, researchers link the gene switches to a range of human diseases — multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease — and even to traits like height. In large studies over the past decade, scientists found that minor changes in human DNA sequences increase the risk that a person will get those diseases. But those changes were in the junk, now often referred to as the dark matter — they were not changes in genes — and their significance was not clear. The new analysis reveals that a great many of those changes alter gene switches and are highly significant.

“Most of the changes that affect disease don’t lie in the genes themselves; they lie in the switches,” said Michael Snyder, a Stanford University researcher for the project, called Encode, for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements.
The article says that this will be used to develop more drugs.  We hope it will be used to better understand how we can better interact with our environment so that we maintain the health of our DNA and allow it to work properly.”

Read the full article here.

Image thanks to lic.co.nz

DNA Microbial Profile: Measuring Intestinal Bacteria, Yeast (Candida), and Parasites

If you suffer from IBS and other digestive problems then it is very possible that you have a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract. My clinic (The IBS Treatment Center) is proud to be one of the few clinics in the country where you can now get DNA testing to measure the presence of the bacteria, yeast and parasites in your digestive tract. This is done via a stool sample. All microbes have DNA, and that DNA can now be detected and quantified with Nobel Prize-winning PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology, which is commonly used in other forms of DNA testing.

DNA testing is far superior to all previous tests that assessed the presence or absence of microbes in the digestive tract. In the past, bacteria and yeast had to be grown or cultured on a Petri dish, and parasites and yeast were looked for under the microscope. In both cases there were numerous factors that could affect the test and result in inaccurate results. With DNA testing these problems have been eliminated, and an incredible range of microbes (see graphic) can be detected.

This test will demonstrate the amount of all friendly bacteria, unfriendly bacteria, and yeast growing in your digestive tract. It also includes the presence of all forms of parasites. It is far more comprehensive than standard stool tests which typically only measure the presence of parasites, or the ugly bacteria that cause potentially life-threatening bloody diarrhea. Standard tests do not cover the wealth of other bacteria and yeast whose presence or absence can lead to IBS and related digestive problems.

This test is quite simple for you. When you visit the clinic for your first appointment you will be provided with the appropriate sample collection kit to take home with you. You then mail the kit directly to the lab from your house.

When your tests are complete, the results and recommendations for treatment will be sent to the IBS Treatment Center. We will then spend the time necessary to explain your test results to you and provide you with the information and prescriptions necessary to treat any problems found.