Diagnosis of parasites is often based on direct detection by microscopy, which is insensitive and laborious and can lack specificity. In fact, a significant number of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) cases could actually be due to undiagnosed gut parasites such as Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba fragilis. PCR testing is a far more sensitive test than the old fashioned technique of looking through a microscope.
A GI Pathogen Panel, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assay looks for the genetic fingerprint of a wide range of pathogens. With its ability to detect minute amounts of DNA or RNA contained in tissues or fluids, PCR has improved the rapidity and accuracy of diagnosis, enhanced understanding of pathogenesis, and helped identify infectious causes for diseases previously considered idiopathic.