fbpx

213: Stool Testing Do’s + Don’t’s For Skin Rashes

Brought to you by Quell

This episode is bought to you by Quell — to help support rebuilding healthy skin from the outside-in + inside-out!

Take 10% off your next order! Use promo code QUELL10 at check out — Get started HERE!

– – –

Once you feel like you’ve exhausted what your dermatologist can do for your skin, you start to wonder if there’s anything else you can dig into to help your rashes.

Most people start with diet and try avoiding different foods.

Eventually you might start to wonder if there’s something going on in your gut!

And somehow you’ll stumble across a bunch of stool testing kits you can buy yourself. Many of the bigger brands advertise heavily across Google and social media hoping to catch your attention.

If you’ve been on the verge of getting one of these kits, this episode is for you!

There is nothing worse than when I have to tell someone that the $150+ they spent on certain stool testing was completely worthless.

I’d like to save you that money so that you can spend it (if you feel so called to) on something that will offer you root cause explanations and actionable steps that make a difference.

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

In this episode:

  • Major drawbacks of stool testing through a local lab
  • Why I use comprehensive stool tests with all of my clients
  • Specific stool testing that can be helpful
  • Thoughts on costs of stool testing + making it more affordable
  • Stool tests to avoid like the plague (seriously… run the other way)

Quotes:

Stool tests run through a local lab (like Labcorp + Quest) are very limited by what your doctor tells the lab to look for.

If you’re seeing ads for stool testing on social media, think twice! While you’ll get a fancy report + some general nutrition recommendations, but not much else.

 

Scientist looking at stool test in microscope

213: Stool Testing Do’s + Don’t’s For Skin Rashes (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

Welcome back to episode #213 of the Healthy Skin Show!

In today’s episode, I want to talk about stool testing because of how helpful it can be from my clinical experience. If this is the first time you’re ever hearing that a stool test could be helpful with your skin — then I invite you to tune into episode 53 to better understand my 16 root cause philosophy first.

In my practice, every client gets stool testing done — no matter whether the complaint is eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff, chronic hives or tinea versicolor (or a combo of issues).

So yes, it can be an incredibly insightful tool, but there are also a lot of bad stool tests out there that are not worth the money (since getting one is generally out-of-pocket). That’s why I wanted to talk about this before you chose something that maybe isn’t the greatest option available to you.

If you’ve never done a stool test before, be aware — you literally are collecting a sample of your poop.

I’m hoping to answer the most common questions about stool testing in this episode that I get on Instagram and from my newsletter community.

While stool testing still isn’t 100% accurate, there’s a lot that can be incredibly helpful as you go through your case. And if you’re really not sure if this is a smart investment for you, speak with your practitioner (or schedule an assessment call with Michelle in my practice) to find out what’s best for you!

 

Woman with map looking for local lab

Can I Get A Stool Test Through A Local Lab?

I personally think the information we get from stool testing is fascinating as it can provide insight into what’s going on in your internal gut realm that you can’t ascertain generally from blood testing.

But not all stool testing is the same!

Stool tests run through a local lab (like Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics) are very limited in what information they provide because the practitioner has to tell the lab what to look for in the stool sample.

They don’t just automatically look for EVERYTHING.

Here’s a couple of examples of how this can fail you…

One of my clients had a history of eczema that started years after returning from Africa. His naturopath at the time had run a stool test (run through Quest) looking for pathogens. It came back clean so he was told he didn’t have any gut issues. Upon getting more comprehensive testing at my direction — he had multiple problematic bacterial organisms very out of balance and TWO parasites.

{READ MORE ABOUT HIS CASE HERE}

And in my own situation, I had eczema which had popped back up on my hand after many years and weird, occasionally severe upper right quadrant pain. If my PCP had even agreed to do testing, he probably never would have known to write for what I actually had! A comprehensive stool panel showed TWO bacterial infections that my GI doctor was able to treat with antibiotics and resolve the issues.

 

Close up picture of microscope from stool test

What Type Of Stool Tests Do I Use In My Practice?

On the other hand, the stool testing that I and my colleagues often talk about is a more comprehensive stool test where you collect the sample, mail it to the lab, and usually wait anywhere from 7 to 30 business days for results.

Stool testing can tell us:

  • what gut bugs are living in your GI tract (H.pylori, fungal organisms, bacterial organisms, pathogens, parasites, worms and viruses)
  • inflammatory issues that could be present
  • if your body is producing enough digestive enzymes
  • if you’re able to absorb fat from your diet
  • if hidden blood is found (which is not something you can see in your stool)
  • gut immune response
  • …a bunch of other crucial information.

Basically, comprehensive stool testing casts a much wider net.

That way we can find issues that would normally be missed.

That said, stool testing isn’t perfect and can result in certain markers showing false negatives (so make sure your practitioner understands how to think beyond the test results). An example of this is for fungal organisms — which emphasizes why your case history is just as crucial as the test results.

As for cost, it’s best to go into this with the mindset that the testing is likely out-of-pocket with pricing that ranges from $300 to $800 ($US).

Sometimes this is covered by an HSA or FSA account for those in the US who have those plans associated with their health insurance. An FSA typically requires a letter to be written by the practitioner who recommended the testing explaining why the test was an appropriate expense in order to be covered.

Another great announcement is that US-based clients in my practice can now enjoy discounts on stool testing which saves them $100+ as compared to what it would normally cost through a 3rd party website.

 

Woman wondering which stool test is best

What Stool Tests Do You Recommend?

Before I tell you what tests to avoid, let’s talk about which are A-OK in my book!

As a clinical nutritionist, I’m able to use the following comprehensive stool testing to create different protocols that are more targeted to what’s going on:

  • GI Map (Diagnostic Solutions Lab)
  • GI Effects (Genova Diagnostics)
  • GI 360 (Doctor’s Data)
  • HealthPath (available in the UK)
  • GI EcologiX (available in the UK)
  • NutriPATH (available in Australia + New Zealand)

There could be other testing options that I’ve not yet encountered, but generally, those which are marketed through advertising on social media or through Google searches are generally not worth the money.

Keep in mind that while many of these can still be ordered by you (though those in the US must go through a 3rd party website to do that), most of these tests (with the exception of the testing available through HealthPath and GI EcologiX) do not offer ANY explanation of what the results mean in layman’s terms nor action steps telling you what to do.

You will need someone trained in using these tests clinically to identify what’s going on and what steps to take so be aware of that upfront.

My clients often feel overwhelmed looking at the US-based labs and realize quickly they should just wait to speak to me directly about the lab rather than trying to look everything up themselves.

Plus, I put the results into context with their case — which the labs just simply cannot do.

 

Scared woman

Stool Tests To Avoid Like The Plague

If you want to know which stool testes to avoid, the general thumb would be those which are actively advertised to you on social media (like on Facebook and Instagram).

These tests ARE NOT helpful.

There used to be a company called uBiome which has since gone out of business after their offices were raided for fraudulent insurance billing. Their test kits were relatively cheap for under $100, but I found that there was really nothing clinically helpful about the data they shared in the report.

Some companies heavily market stool testing to people struggling with specific health issues — such as Viome which is in my opinion one of the most worthless ways to spend money if you really want to understand what’s going on in your GI tract. And should you still decide to give Viome a try, be aware that users of this service have been experiencing frustrating customer service issues for some time now.

Other companies use stool testing to sell you “customized” probiotics like Floré which again appears incredibly gimmicky since a seasoned practitioner who understands the complexity of your case and can look at a comprehensive stool test could make more targeted recommendations anyway.

In the case of Floré, to find out what probiotics you’d need (which is usually such a small piece of the puzzle) costs $169. Why not just save that a put it towards a more comprehensive test that could tell you a whole lot more?

Other stool testing companies I would recommend you avoid:

  • Biomes
  • BiomeFX
  • Psomagen
  • Thryve

In most cases, you get a really fancy report with lots of colorful graphics, piecharts and data, but at the end of the day, there are significant limitations because these tests are not clinical labs.

They’ll give you suggestions for diet and lifestyle changes (and some services will then upsell you into a probiotic or supplement subscription supposedly based on your results) that are based on a computer algorithm.

Ultimately, the reports don’t show you actual gut function or microbiome root causes because they aren’t clinical tests. They can’t identify infections or other clinical factors that impact what’s going on.

They also lack the ability to take into account your unique health history, your clinical presentation (including all of your symptoms), and other factors that you would naturally get from working with someone who can take a comprehensive clinical test and create more substantial action plans.

So, as a general rule of thumb — avoid purchasing stool tests being advertised to you online.

If you’re still interested beyond what I’ve shared, make sure to look at a sample report. If there’s not much factual data and just lots of fancy graphics, colors, and diet recommendations, you’re better off saving your money to get a comprehensive clinical stool test like those I’ve mentioned above.

The gut microbiome is so complex and we are still learning more about it every single day. Testing is still not perfect and ultimately requires the knowledge and skill of a practitioner along with your case history to determine the best steps forward.

Remember, if you’re looking for help to know if stool testing is right for you and which test is best, we can help you with that in my virtual clinical practice through an assessment call.

If you’ve got any questions or thoughts to share about this, leave a comment below so I can address them.

And share this info with someone you know who is considering gut testing as their next step. I’d hate to see them waste money on something that they could have put towards testing that’s much more comprehensive.

Thank you so much for tuning in and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode!

Stool tests run through a local lab (like Labcorp + Quest) are very limited by what your doctor tells the lab to look for.


Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.


Follow Us

Tik Tok Logo
Medical Disclaimer

Skinterrupt offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information which is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnois, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health related advise from your physician or other health care professional because of something you may have seen or read on our site, or in our advertising, marketing, or promotional materials. The use of any information provided by Skinterrupt is solely at your own risk.

Nothing stated or posted on our site, or in our advertising, marketing or promotional materials, or through any of the services we offer, as intended to be, and must not be taken to be, the practice of medicine or counseling care. For purposes of this disclaimer, the practice of medicine or counseling care includes, without limitation, nutritional counseling, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, or providing health care treatment, instruction, diagnosis, prognosis, or advice.