Getting tested for Inflammatory Bowel Disease is often times an unpleasant experience. Endoscopies, where a tube is passed through the rectum and into the digestive system, have been the gold standard for testing for IBD. Doctors have been looking into less invasive ways to test for this disease.
A new test that measures a specific protein in the stool may help to limit more invasive testing. The research was published in the BMJ on July 16 and showed promising results. In the study screening for this specific protein reduced more invasive testing in 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children.
While the protein marker in stool is not exactly a test for IBD it does help to identify the patients who are in need of further testing or endoscopic procedures. This could help to limit the number of unnecessary tests in patients who are not at risk for IBD.
Endoscopies are frequently preformed and are excellent diagnostic tools but are not without risk to the patient. Any test that can help screen for IBD without being invasive is a positive step. Researchers caution that 6 to 8 percent of patients screened for the protein also saw a delay in their diagnosis so it is important to work with your physician to find the appropriate test for you.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.