What Is Calprotectin Test?

calprotectin test

What’s covered?

calprotectin test

The calprotectin test identifies calprotectin quantities in a person's faeces, a protein indicating colon inflammation. Even though these testing methods are often used to assist in identifying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), they could also be used to monitor the progression of a current IBD condition and the inflammation present. A calprotectin test, also known as a faecal calprotectin test, looks for inflammation in the intestines. Using this sort of test, a facility checks a person's stool sample for calprotectin, a protein used to detect inflammation in the intestines.

Additionally, if a patient has a diagnosed intestinal problem that affects their bowel function, a calprotectin test may assist physicians in differentiating between noninflammatory and inflammatory reasons. It is vital to emphasise that calprotectin test findings show swelling in the colon rather than in the small intestine. This implies that the testing could not identify all types of IBD.

What Is Calprotectin?

Calprotectin is a protein that white blood cells produce in reaction to swelling. If intestinal inflammation occurs, white blood cells known as 'neutrophils', migrate into the area and produce calprotectin to combat sickness or disease. Inflammatory bowel disease may be characterised by gastrointestinal inflammation. In addition, IBD is a catch-all name for a group of chronic illnesses that cause persistent swelling in the digestive system. IBD diseases include:

  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

Who Should Be Tested For Calprotectin?

IBD symptoms

The placement and intensity of swelling in the GI tract determine the intensity of inflammatory bowel disease IBD symptoms. Because IBD symptoms might swell up and fade throughout time, your symptoms could be acute or chronic. Most inflammatory bowel disease symptoms might be driven by irritable bowel syndrome, some malignancies, or bacterial infections.

A few or all of the following symptoms may indicate that a faecal calprotectin test is required:

  • Bloating
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Watery diarrhoea

How Does A Physician Use The Stool Calprotectin Test?

The calprotectin test may assist your doctors in the diagnosis of IBD. It may also be utilised to track the intensity of IBD flare-ups once they have been diagnosed. This test assists in distinguishing between IBD and IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a noninflammatory bowel disorder with typically comparable symptoms.

Calprotectin levels in the faeces could also suggest other diseases such as:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Parasitic infection
  • Bacterial infection

How Do Physicians Perform Calprotectin Tests?

doctor with results

Calprotectin Testing is non-invasive. You do not have to prepare the bowel beforehand. Typically, a physician will take a stool sample from the patient and submit it to a laboratory for faecal calprotectin testing. Many physicians or labs may advise obtaining the sample at home. To minimise infection, the laboratory tests facility will also offer a clean receptacle for the sample. The individual must verify that the stool sample contains neither urine nor water.

Furthermore, when the physician receives the test findings, they will tell the patient. Upon evaluating the results, doctors could do further investigation to see whether there is moderate-to-high swelling. Calprotectin test levels that are low or normal may indicate no swelling in the colon or that a noninflammatory ailment produces symptoms.

What Is The Implication Of Calprotectin Test Results?

Calprotectin test levels in the stool sample that are high may indicate infection, colorectal cancer, or IBD. In the intestines, low or moderate levels indicate little or no swelling. This might imply that a viral illness or IBS causes your symptoms.

  • Normal (49 g/g or less). If your levels are low, your physician may suggest self-care strategies such as nutritional adjustments, meditation, and workouts to alleviate symptoms. Antispasmodic and antidiarrheal drugs can be used as well.
  • Moderate (50-120 g/g). If your levels are marginally high, your physician may advise you to repeat in a few weeks and take medication to relieve your difficulties. Antibiotics are used if a bacterial infection is present.
  • High (121 g/g or above). More diagnostic procedures, like a colonoscopy, will be performed if your levels are high. This will aid in providing diagnostic data and determining the following stages in your treatment.

What Can I Do To Reduce My Calprotectin Levels?

reducing IBD symptoms

Calprotectin is a marker of gastrointestinal inflammation that is unaffected by lifestyle modifications. If the cause is an infection, it will probably recover and continue as normal. It will increase and decrease with clinical symptoms if it is caused by inflammatory bowel disease. If nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment produces a high calprotectin level, it will most probably revert to normal after the medication is stopped.

It is important to check your health, especially if you have some of the aforementioned symptoms. To take a private at-home Bowel Test, see our Instant Bowel Cancer Home Test here.

At Welzo we also offer an at-home Bowel Cancer Test. Once you've collected your sample, it is sent back to a lab where it will be scanned for results and analysed by a doctor, order your test here.

If you would like to learn more about IBS, we have an information page here.

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