3 Ways to Test for Hidden Infections – Which One Do You Need?

Hidden infections are actually very common and can be the underlying root cause of:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aches & Pains
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Weight Gain
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • And much, much more.

By hidden infection I mean a chronic, silent, underlying infection deep in your body. This can be from:

  • too much bad bacteria;
  • a parasite infestation;
  • yeast overgrowth; and
  • not enough good bacteria (probiotics).

Testing for Hidden Infections: Stool Testing

The easiest and best test to evaluate for hidden infections in the colon is a stool test.

Not all stool tests are the same, though.

You want a test that requires three to four stool samples.

This is because parasites, in particular, live in cycles. They are not always found in each and every bowel movement. Also, parasites cling to the walls of the intestines and rarely get shed into the stool. This is another reason why multiple stool samples need to be collected for best test results.

Stool testing is one of the most expensive tests to do, but the investment is worth it. It very often uncovers the underlying reason why you have fatigue.

Hint: If you’re doing a stool test, take a laxative formula that will induce watery diarrhea (like for a colonoscopy test). Collect your stool starting after the fourth watery bowel movement. This will increase your chances of finding parasites. If your test calls for 4 samples, consider doubling it by filling each vial halfway twice, thereby collecting 8 samples total in your 4 vials.

Testing for Hidden Infections: Breath Testing

Stool testing tests what’s living in the colon, but what about what’s living in the small intestine?

Actually, there should be very, very little bacteria living in your small intestine. It should all be in your colon.

However, a common cause of fatigue is bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, called SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). The easiest and best test to evaluate for SIBO is a breath test—the Lactulose Breath Test.

Lactulose is a carbohydrate that doesn’t get absorbed by your body. Lactulose is actually food for the bacteria living inside your intestines. So when you take lactulose, the bacteria in your intestines eat it and convert it into gas—hydrogen or methane gas primarily.

Then you breathe out these gases so they can be measured. Depending on how fast the gases are formed, we will know if they are from bacteria in the small intestine or colon.

SIBO is extremely common, especially for those who have fatigue as well as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)!

Ever Wondered if You Really Have IBS or Not?

Properly diagnosing IBS can be difficult. It relies on a questionnaire along with ruling out other intestinal diseases, like colitis and Celiac disease.

Following is the questionnaire, called the Rome III questionnaire.

(Take a moment to answer it yourself, and then have all your family members take the test.)

Rome III Questionnaire

Have you had recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least 3 days per month in the last 3 months associated with 2 or more of the following:

  1. improvement with defecation
  2. onset associated with a change in frequency of stool
  3. onset associated with a change in appearance of stool

If your answer is “yes,” then you most likely have IBS and SIBO.

SIBO also commonly causes:

  • rosacea
  • fatty liver
  • restless leg syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic pain (especially if you’ve used painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications longer than three months)

If any of this sounds like you, consider getting tested for SIBO. This may be the underlying cause for your fatigue!

Testing for Hidden Infections: Urine Testing

Infections can also be found with urine testing – specifically an Organic Acids Test.

This is how it works…

Harmful forms of yeast and bacteria excrete waste products of their own – or metabolites – into your body (this is part of the reason why these critters make people sick!). Our body tries to clears out these metabolites through our kidneys so they end up in your urine.

When specific metabolites are found in high quantities you can bet you have an underlying yeast infection or bacterial overgrowth.

I especially like using the Organic Acids Test because it is one of the few ways to find yeast overgrowth and bacterial overgrowth. But, it this test also assesses your detoxification pathways, energy production pathways, neurotransmitter imbalance, and nutrient deficiencies (especially for B vitamins, vitamin C, and CoQ10).

Treating Infections

Most infections can be treated with herbal treatments over a 6 week period, but some do require prescription medications.

Treating the infection is just the first step, though.

Fixing the damage caused by the infection is the crucial follow-up step and should never be skipped. This is where the leaky gut gets healed up; where the probiotics are added back in; and where the prebiotics are added in. This step usually takes 2-3 months to heal completely.

Make a promise to yourself starting today:

Stop feeling lousy…rotten…awful…crummy…miserable…terrible…crappy.

Find a good Functional Medicine doctor to help you get to the root cause of your health problems.

Like I always say:

Find the cause.

Fix the cause.

Feel normal again!


Dr. Carri Drzyzga, DC, ND – The Functional Medicine Doc

Find the Cause. Fix the Cause. Feel Normal Again!

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