A stool analysis is a series of tests done on a sample of stool (feces) to find problems with the digestive tract. These health problems can include infection, poor nutrient absorption, or cancer.
Stool analysis is done to identify diseases of the digestive tract. It is also done to find the cause of symptoms affecting the digestive tract, such as diarrhea, gas, nausea, vomiting, and belly pain with fever.
You will need to avoid certain medicines, such as antacids and antidiarrheal medicines, for 1 to 2 weeks before the test. You may also need to avoid certain foods for a few days before the test. Talk with your doctor about which medicines and foods to avoid.
Stool samples can be collected at home, in your doctor's office, in a medical clinic, or at the hospital. If you collect the samples at home, you will be given stool collection kits to use each day. Each kit contains applicator sticks, a collection container, and two sterile containers.
You may need to collect more than one sample over 1 to 3 days. Follow the same procedure each day.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: October 14, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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