“Gut health” has become a hot topic recently… right up there with avocado toast, kombucha, and millennial pink. It seems like everyone is interested in learning more about what a healthy gut includes and how to best incorporate healthy gut habits into their daily life.

I found myself curious about gut health a few months ago… and after participating in a vaginal health pilot program with the company uBiome, I discovered that they offered a gut health at-home sample kit. Perfect timing!

SmartGut — the kit manufactured by uBiome — is a healthcare provider-approved, insurance-reimbursed test. With SmartGut, you and your doctor can gain valuable insights to better understand what’s going on inside your gut, then take steps for you to feel better.

Using precision sequencing technology, SmartGut identifies microbes in your gut that might be affecting your health. The test detects beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms associated with gut conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

This at-home test kit is super convenient… though you have to be willing get a little up close and personal. The collection kit includes clear, simple instructions and everything you need — including a prepaid return mailer. All that is required is a very small sample of fecal matter from your toilet paper (just enough to tint a cotton swab) that you can collect and return to the lab. Quick, easy, and painless!

From the time my sample was collected to the day I received my emailed results, about 12 days had elapsed. The 10-page report was detailed and fascinating, taking an in-depth look at the microbiomes present and not present in my body… and how that translated into overall gut health.

For example: even though my sample tested negative for every pathogen, there were several organisms in my body that tested outside (on the low end of) the healthy range.

While low levels of organisms may seem like a positive test result to most, it’s a little more complicated than that. For some conditions, a microorganism might have an inverse association — meaning that having a low level of that microorganism might mean that you’re actually more susceptible to that condition.

I tested low on 7 microorganisms which could mean absolutely nothing — or, it could mean I’m more susceptible to certain gut conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis.

At the end of the day, SmartGut isn’t a tell-all test. A positive result in your sample is not a diagnosis, nor does it imply you have a disease. Similarly, a negative result does not preclude disease.

Learning the facts about your body can help you know when to worry or when to remain cool, helping you take proactive steps toward protecting your health. You should always consult your medical professional regarding your test results. (I know I will!)