Digestive System Tests

Any issues with your digestive system can lead to much bigger problems later. Learn the importance of digestive system lab tests here.

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People tend to overlook their digestive health. With so much focus on cancer, heart attacks, and strokes, it's easy for your gut health to get lost in the shuffle.

That's why it's important to have digestive lab tests done regularly. Catching digestive system conditions before they start is the best form of medicine.

If monitoring your gut health is new to you, don't worry. In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to know about your gut.

Digestive System Conditions

Different GI lab tests monitor the levels of different enzymes and bacteria in your gut. We know what you're thinking, "there are bacteria in my stomach?"

Yes. There are bacteria in your stomach. But, the bacteria in your digestive system are "good" bacteria. It needs to stay at a certain level in your digestive system for your gut to remain healthy.

Several conditions can arise from having an unhealthy digestive system. Let's outline some of them below.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an acute gluten sensitivity in the digestive system. People who live with celiac disease have an immune response that gets triggered in their small intestine every time they eat gluten. Gluten is present in any flour or wheat-based products.

If someone chooses not to treat their Celiac Disease, it can start to affect the absorption of nutrients in their small intestine. The lining of the small intestine will also begin to deteriorate. The damage done to the small intestine could eventually lead to more serious complications.

Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Weight Loss
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a blanket term that covers several conditions affecting the bowels.  

The two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. 

Ulcerative colitis involves inflammation and sores (ulcers) along the lining of your large intestine. The condition also affects your colon and rectum.

Crohn's disease is similar in that it also involves the swelling of your digestive tract. Chron's, however, can affect the deeper layers of your digestive tract.

Signs and symptoms of IBD include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unnatural weight loss
  • Blood in the stool

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome affects both the lower and upper areas of the GI tract. This includes both the small and large intestine and the colon.

Individuals suffering from IBS can experience chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, or both.  

Doctors believe that in most cases, IBS is brought on by a severe case of food poisoning.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar lactose fully. The condition arises from a lack of the enzyme lactase in your digestive system.

Lactase is the enzyme responsible for processing lactose. If the lactase levels are too low within your digestive system, it results in lactose intolerance.

Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting

Pancreatic Diseases

Problems with your digestive tract can also lead to several pancreatic diseases. Acute pancreatitis is the most common of these conditions.

However, if these conditions don't receive treatment, they can escalate into much bigger problems.

Signs and symptoms of general pancreas malfunction include:

  • Abdominal swelling or pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excess gas
  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Lightly colored stool
  • Foul-smelling stool
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea 

If any of these symptoms persist, it may be a good idea to consult your doctor.

Peptic Ulcer

Peptic ulcers are sores that develop on the inner lining of your stomach. They can also affect the upper section of your small intestine. These can occur as gastric ulcers or duodenal ulcers.

Gastric ulcers occur in the stomach. Duodenal ulcers occur in an upper section of the small intestine, the duodenum.

Signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers include:

  • Feeling full
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Burning stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Intolerance to fatty foods

Lab Tests for Digestive Conditions

Digestive lab tests are one of the best strategies to screen, diagnose, and monitor digestive conditions.

Two of the most popular digestive system tests are the fecal occult blood test and stool culture.

The fecal occult blood test will test for hidden blood in the stool. The test involves placing a small amount of stool on a special card. The sample will then be tested in the doctor's office or sent to a lab.

A standard stool culture test searches for abnormal bacteria in the stool. A sample of stool is collected and then sent to the lab by your healthcare provider. Results usually take 2 to 3 days, and then you'll know if abnormal bacteria are present.

In addition to the above lab tests, doctors can also perform imaging tests to get a more in-depth look at your digestive system.

Popular procedures to monitor digestive conditions include:

  • A CT or CAT scan
  • Lower GI series
  • Upper GI series
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Colonoscopy

Digestive System and Digestive Lab Tests FAQs

Digestive conditions can cover a wide range of conditions and symptoms. It's easy for them to be overlooked if you don't know what you're looking for. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about digestive conditions.

Q: What Are Common Problems In the Digestive System?

The most common problems in the digestive system include cancer, heartburn, and IBS. Rectal problems such as fissures and hemorrhoids can also occur.

Q: What Are Digestive Problem Symptoms?

Common signs and symptoms of digestive conditions include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Belching
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

If any of the above symptoms persist for a long period of time, it's a good idea to consult your doctor.

Q: What Tests Are Done For Digestive Conditions? 

An endoscopy, upper GI series, lower GI series, ultrasound, and MRI are common options when screening for digestive conditions.

Q: Does Bloodwork Show Digestive Conditions?

Doctors can order blood tests for digestive issues. If your GI lab tests need to check for levels of a specific substance in the blood, your doctor may order blood work. This is the case with Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis.

Solving Your Digestive System

Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests to make informed decisions about your health. Here are a few great things to love about Ulta Lab Tests for your digestive lab tests:

  • You'll get secure and confidential results
  • You don't need health insurance
  • You don't need a physician's referral
  • You'll get affordable pricing
  • We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your digestive system health lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control with Ulta Lab Tests today!