Why It Is Done
Stool analysis is done to:
- Help identify diseases of the digestive tract, Reference liver Opens New Window, and Reference pancreas Opens New Window. Certain Reference enzymes Opens New Window (such as trypsin or elastase) may be evaluated in the stool to help determine how well the pancreas is functioning.
- Help find the cause of symptoms affecting the digestive tract, including prolonged diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, an increased amount of gas, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, bloating, abdominal pain and cramping, and fever.
- Screen for Reference colon cancer Opens New Window by checking for hidden (occult) blood.
- Look for parasites, such as Reference pinworms Opens New Window or Reference Giardia Opens New Window.
- Look for the cause of an infection, such as bacteria, a Reference fungus Opens New Window, or a virus.
- Check for poor absorption of nutrients by the digestive tract (malabsorption syndrome). For this test, all stool is collected over a 72-hour period and then checked for fat (and sometimes for meat fibers). This test is called a 72-hour stool collection or quantitative fecal fat test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology