A stool test is a series of tests done on a stool sample to help diagnose certain conditions affecting the digestive tract. These conditions can include infection (such as from parasites, viruses, or bacteria), poor nutrient absorption, or cancer.
A stool culture or sample can look in your poop for bacteria, a virus, or other germs that might be making you sick. If your test results are negative, that means that they’re normal. No germs were found in your poop, and you don’t have an infection. A positive test result means that your poop was infected with a germ, virus, or other type of.
A stool sample is collected in a clean container and then sent to the laboratory. Laboratory analysis includes microscopic examination, chemical tests, and microbiologic tests. The stool will be checked for color, consistency, amount, shape, and the presence of mucus. The stool may be examined for hidden (occult) blood, fat, meat fibers, bile, white blood cells, and sugars called reducing substances.
The pH of the stool also may be measured. Stool tests can detect many things significant to health, anything from parasite infection to signs of cancer, yeast, or bacterial. A stool test is used to detect the presence of blood or other gastrointestinal abnormalities, such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or infections.