Just yesterday I was on the phone with a doctor’s office and was told that endo is a “disease of the uterus.” I felt like screaming! If there is one thing I know about endo, it is that it is a full body disease. Endo is NOT just a painful period or even just a reproductive disease. Endometriosis, at its root, is a result of immune dysfunction which leads to chronic systemic inflammation. And you know what? 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. So, endo friend, if you are not looking at your gut health as a piece of your endo journey, I am afraid you have missed a major factor. Let’s take a journey together to see just how gut testing helps endometriosis.
What exactly is gut testing?
There are a variety of methods and tests out there that have different benefits. For today, we are going to focus on the GI-Map. The GI-Map is known these days to be the gold standard of gut testing. It is different from most other stool tests in that it actually measures the quantity of DNA of various microorganisms. Most stool tests use culturing, which isn’t as accurate and can miss things more easily.
The GI-Map is an extremely sensitive test and can detect overgrowth of bacteria, parasites, and fungi. I use this test with just about every client in my 1:1 coaching program and it allows me to get a good inside picture of what is going on. This allows me to create a bio-individual healing protocol to get my clients feeling better faster!
Great! So gut testing helps with endometriosis?
Now is the beautiful part where we get to put the pieces together. How gut testing helps with endometriosis part 1! Remember how 70% of the immune system resides in your gut? This is where that little factoid really matters. Overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria, parasites, or fungi can actually affect the lining of your gut which then impacts your immune system.
In a healthy gut, beneficial bacteria help to protect your gut lining. They create somewhat of a barrier to prevent large food particles from entering your bloodstream and they also help to digest some of the fiber we ingest that our digestive systems can’t handle on their own.
When the opportunistic bacteria or other pathogens take over, this balance is thrown off. It allows things to enter your bloodstream through the gut lining that otherwise wouldn’t. This initiates an immune reaction which then leads to inflammation. When this happens again and again, we end up with chronic inflammation, which is a huge contributing factor to endo.
The GI-Map allows us to see exactly what type of overgrowth you may have in your gut so we can create a protocol to eradicate.
Cool! How will this help my endo symptoms?
Alright here comes how gut testing helps with endometriosis part 2! As any endo warrior is aware, pain is a major symptom. That can include period pain, ovulatory pain, pain with bowel movements, pain with sex, and pain with urination to name a few. For some, it just means pain all the time.
Pain is a major symptom of inflammation. In fact, I wrote a whole article just about inflammation recently for that reason. Give it a read here if you want to learn more.
Another symptom many endo warriors struggle with is fatigue, which also happens to be a common symptom of inflammation.
So if we can eradicate opportunistic pathogens, it allows your body’s immune system to calm down which can then help to support a healthy inflammatory response. This is key to managing endo pain and symptoms long term.
Cool! Can you tell me more about how gut testing helps endometriosis?
And now on to part 3! Another thing the GI-Map shows us is how your digestive function is currently going. Why does this matter? Well, those pathogens are getting in your body in the first place somehow. A common dysfunction for example that allows for this is low stomach acid. Yep, you heard me! Despite what antacid commercials might say, low stomach acid is actually extremely common.
Stomach acid is one of the body’s initial lines of defense that kills off pathogens as they enter the body. When that is functioning well, it is much less likely for pathogenic overgrowth to happen in the first place.
Now the GI-Map doesn’t actually measure stomach acid directly, but it can show us signs which allows me as a practitioner to keep on digging.
At the end of the day, we want these pathogens to not just come right back, right??
Removing the offenders
As a side note, when doing a gut healing protocol it is very important to also remove any foods that your body is sensitive to. These can also lead to an inflammatory response, which is exactly what we are trying to overcome.
When running a GI-Map, I often like to use it side by side with an MRT food sensitivity test. I know, food sensitivity tests sometimes get a bad rap, so hear me out. The MRT is actually a blood test, so it directly tests the blood’s response to a food. This is very different from the typical sensitivity tests you can buy online.
That being said, the MRT by itself won’t actually do you a lot of good. It should always be used in conjunction with a gut healing protocol and with a plan to add foods back in! There may need to be some restriction initially in a gut healing protocol, but at the end of the day we want you eating as many foods as possible! Repeat after me: overly restrictive dieting=nutrient deficiencies.
Believe me, endo warrior, your body needs as many nutrients as it can get!
Okay so break down how gut testing helps endometriosis one more time, please.
- The GI-Map gives us a quality, accurate picture of exactly what, if any, opportunistic pathogens are residing in your gut and can be contributing to your symptoms. Testing takes out the guesswork and gets you feeling better faster!
- Eradicating pathogens allows us to support the body’s inflammatory response, bringing it back into balance. This can in turn help to support symptoms like pain and fatigue that endo warriors frequently experience.
- This allows us to get an idea of why this all happened in the first place. Digestive dysfunctions like low stomach acid and even enzyme production can be assessed so these overgrowths don’t happen all over again.
- Bonus section! Removing inflammatory foods is a crucial piece of any gut healing protocol. The MRT food sensitivity test is a wonderful tool for this and, again, takes out the guesswork.
Less guesswork=feeling better faster.
That’s all for today, friends! Much love and happy healing. I do work with women on testing and creating individualized healing protocols inside of my 3 month Thrive With Endo 1:1 coaching program. If you are feeling like it is time to take out the guesswork and start feeling better, I would love to hear from you. Click here to learn more and schedule a free consultation today!
Lenard, Lane; Wright, Jonathan V. (2001). Why Stomach Acid is Good for You. Lanham, Maryland: M. Evans Publishers.
Khan, Khaleque N.; Fujishita, Akira; Hiraki, Koichi; Kitajima, Michio; Nakashima, Masahiro; Fushiki, Shinji; Kitawaki, Jo. (2018). Bacterial contamination hypothesis: a new concept in endometriosis. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902457/
Svensson, Agnes; Brunkwall, Louise; Roth, Bodil; Orho-Melander, Marju; Ohlsson, Bodil. (2021). Associations Between Endometriosis and Gut Microbiota. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8289757/
National Institute of Health National Library of Medicine. (2018). What is an inflammation? Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/
Pahwa, Roma; Goyal, Amandeep; Jialal, Ishwarlal. (2022). Chronic Inflammation. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
Donnez, Jacques; Cacciottola, Luciana. (2022). Endometriosis: An Inflammatory Disease That Requires New Therapeutic Options. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8836207/