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White blood cells release the protein calprotectin when there is inflammation in the GI tract. High levels of inflammation in the GI tract results in an increased amount of calprotectin released into the stool. Measuring the level of calprotectin in the stool can help distinguish between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and non-inflammatory bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What might a low result mean?

A normal faecal calprotectin result may mean that any bowel symptoms are less likely to be caused by an inflammatory bowel disorder.

What might a high result mean?

A high faecal calprotectin result indicates inflammation in the GI tract, but does not explain its location or cause. Often, the degree of elevation of the result is relative to the severity of the inflammation.

Bacterial and some parasitic infections can also cause an elevated faecal calprotectin result.