In my pursuit for regular bowel movements, a couple of weeks ago Steve, as in Steve and Jordan from scdlifestyle.com, recommended a Metametrix 2105 stool test. That sounds very objective. I like objective, cut and dry tests, diagnoses, and treatments!
But this isn’t the stool test we typically order in medicine! If I wanted to check somebody for a parasite, I would order a “stool for ova and parasites X 3 ” and usually get an enteric culture, as well, to check for certain bacteria, too. Three stools would be collected and checked for actual eggs and parasites themselves. Yes, it is true. The test is not very sensitive. But it’s what we have. There may be too few parasites to detect. Even if you have them. That’s why we run three samples–to try to catch those “suckers.”
As doctors, it’s what we’re trained to order! I guess Metametrix (and other labs) offers different tests–ones maybe not so medically accepted. I checked them out a few months ago. It was mind-boggling. It was going to take more research time than I had to explore all the different tests. Which one to order? Were they really reliable? Just because they found “something” in my stool, was it really indicative of a pathological problem leading to my constipation? I couldn’t decide if these stool tests were really providing “sound” medicine or if they were a scam. Typical doctor attitude. Wary of anything different and not mainstream. So I passed at that time. Several months later and lots of things tried later–I was willing to give them a second look.
My dear husband curb-sided a good general surgeon here in town about my constipation while they were both between cases at the hospital. A “curb-side consult” is a medical doctor term for when we pick your brain about a patient when we see each other out and about. As we have no gastroenterologist in this small town, the general surgeons do the colonoscopies here. This surgeon said they see about five slow transit constipation patients a week. They can get most better. He proceeded to talk about the neurological deficits in slow transit constipation and how fiber is no help. He sounded like a good place to start here in town, and Brandon knew he was a good surgeon. So I got my appointment with him.
The night before my appointment, Brandon (my husband and an orthopedic surgeon) and I lay on the sofa talking about my impending appointment. If we thought I’d get anywhere. What I wanted to accomplish. I told him I wanted Dr. L to order a Metametrix stool test.
“A Meta-what?” he asked.
“A Metametrix stool test. It looks for bacterial overgrowths. Candida. Parasites,” I said.
“Oh. Do parasites cause constipation?”
“Sure. I guess they can. It’s atypical, though,” I answered.
“Huh,” he said.
Like any good patient, I had my list ready for Dr. L when I went. I wanted a colonoscopy, a TSH, and Metametrix 2100 stool study. He told me I absolutely needed a colonoscopy. It had been too long messing around with this. He thought I’d be surprised at the number of atypical cases of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis he’d seen. And a TSH. Yes. And he added on his own choice of a calcium level to check my parathyroids since I’d had kidney stones. “And will you order me a Metametrix 2105 stool study?” I asked. “Sure……[long pause] what is it?” he asked.
Sure. What is it. I was medical doctor number one who had no clue about this. My husband was medical doctor number two. And here was medical doctor number three. Sure. What is it. Now, I know there absolutely have to be medical doctors who order this. But the ones I know don’t. So it’s certainly not common. I gave him the same answer I gave to Brandon. He wrote “Metametrix 2100” at the bottom of the laboratory order slip. I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with that lab slip. And I didn’t . I took it to the lab, and I heard the lab assistant calling back to the surgeon’s office to see what it was. I jumped up and told her what I knew as the doctor’s office had not a clue. I was a little embarassed that I was even asking for this test. Voodoo, as I like to say. At this point, I had a suspicion that if I wanted this test, I’d either have to go see a naturopath or order it myself.
Luckily, my suspicion ended up being wrong.
I went home. Relooked at the Metametrix site. And I ordered the test myself, but nothing has to be paid until the specimen is sent back in.
I could have called back to the surgeon’s office and explained to them that they had to go the Metametrix website, scroll through to find the test I wanted, and fill out an application to become a clinical provider of the test. They would have done it for me. But, uh-uh. No way was I doing that. I have been a working medical doctor. An over-worked, busy-as-heck, cant’-see-through-all-the paperwork medical doctor. And I didn’t want to be the problem patient who puts a wrench in the whole day. Especially when I didn’t even really know what this test really was and if it was really even good at all. So the test is on its way to my house. I’ll send that one back, I guess, though. Because the next day, the office nurse called me and told me the lab had figured out what the test was and had ordered it.
Traditional medicine came through! Yee-haw! Go, team! Go, team! We’re not as backwards as they say we are!
So my Metametrix stool test is on its way to the hospital lab where I got my other tests done. It will be a fun experiment to submit the test and see the results. And analyze them. See if any results correlate with symptoms. Is it a parasite? Oooooh. Is it candida? Aaaaaah. Maybe, I don’t have any gut dysbiosis! Umm–no. Not possible.
Now, what is it? What is a Metametrix stool test? It is a stool test that uses DNA to detect bacteria, yeast, and parasites rather than actually looking for the organism itself or trying to culture it out. This may sound like a very good thing. And it indeed, it can be. But the question is, just because the organism is there, does that really make it pathological? No. It doesn’t. Most likely I have MRSA on my skin from working in the hospital for years. But it’s not pathological at this point. I’m not going to test for it. I’m not going to try to eradicate it. I may have candida in my gut, but how much is pathological? And the answer will be variable for each individual. I think that’s where a good clinician comes in, trying to tie together tests and the patient who is sitting in front of them.
I guess after my tests come back, I’ll have more to say and more areas to scrutinize.
Here is the Metametrix site:
Here are some comments regarding Metametrix that I found, trying to figure out the validity of this test. I could not find much. I do not agree or disagree with the following posts. I don’t have a clue who the people are who wrote them, so don’t criticize me for putting the page here. I just read them and found it interesting to compare their views. I am putting them here so you may look at them if you want to. The slam on Metametrix doesn’t really seem to lie too much with their stool studies. It seems to come with some of their other, perhaps more questionable, tests.
Would love to hear of any reader’s experience with Metametrix and how it played into their treatment program.
Further Metametrix posts:
More on My Metametrix GI Function Profile Test
Muddling Through Page One
Beginning Page Two