Fecal Lactoferrin Test – High, Low

An elevated lactoferrin level in the stool indicates that inflammation is likely present and active in the digestive tract but does not indicate either its location or cause.

In general, the degree of elevation is associated with the severity of the inflammation.

Increases in lactoferrin are seen with IBD but also with other inflammatory conditions, with intestinal bacterial infections, some parasitic infections, and with colon cancer. In newly diagnosed people with IBD, concentrations of lactoferrin may be very high.

A low level of lactoferrin means that a bowel disorder is likely non-inflammatory. Examples of these include diarrhea due to viral digestive tract infections and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Unlike IBD, IBS does not cause inflammation. Rather, it causes cramp-like stomach pains and spasms with bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation. People with low lactoferrin results are less likely to require an endoscopy. A moderate lactoferrin level may be seen in those with less active IBD.

The result indicates that there is likely some inflammation present. If a repeat test shows that the lactoferrin has increased, then the person’s condition may be worsening.

Keyword: fecal lactoferrin

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.