A stool test involves the collection and analysis of fecal matter to diagnose the presence or absence of a medical condition.
Gross (naked eye exam)
The patient and/or health care worker in the office or at the bedside is able to make some important observations.
- Color -
- Texture/consistency -
Fecal occult blood test
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.
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.
Faecal elastase levels are becoming the mainstay of pancreatitis diagnosis.