Stool test

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Transport vials filled with human feces for stool testing. Yellow and blue tops for parasite testing, red top for stool cultures and the white top was provided by the patient with the sample.

A stool test involves the collection and analysis of fecal matter to diagnose the presence or absence of a medical condition.

Fecal occult blood test[edit]

One of the most common stool tests, the fecal occult blood test can be used to diagnose many conditions that cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal system including colorectal cancer or stomach cancer.[1]

Microbiology tests[edit]

Parasitic diseases such as ascariasis, hookworm, strongyloidiasis and whipworm can be diagnosed by examining stools under a microscope for the presence of worm larvae or eggs. Some bacterial diseases can be detected with a stool culture. Toxins from bacteria such as Clostridium difficile ('C. diff.') can also be identified. Viruses such as rotavirus can also be found in stools.[2]

Chemical tests[edit]

A fecal pH test may be used to determine lactose intolerance or the presence of an infection.[3] Steatorrhea can be diagnosed using a Fecal fat test that checks for the malabsorption of fat.[4]

Faecal elastase levels are becoming the mainstay of pancreatitis diagnosis.

See also[edit]

References[edit]