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Stool Culture

How It Is Done continued...

You may need to collect more than one sample. Follow the same steps for each sample.

To collect the sample:

  • Urinate before you collect the stool. That way, you won't get any urine in the stool sample. Do not urinate while you pass the stool.
  • Put on gloves before handling your stool. Stool can contain germs that spread infection. Wash your hands after you take off your gloves.
  • Pass stool (but no urine) into a dry container. You may be given a plastic basin that you can place under the toilet seat to catch the stool.
    • Either solid or liquid stool can be collected.
    • If you have diarrhea, a large plastic bag taped to the toilet seat may make the collection process easier. The bag is then placed in a plastic container.
    • Do not collect the sample from the toilet bowl.
    • Do not mix toilet paper, water, or soap with the sample.
  • Place the lid on the container. Label it with your name, your doctor's name, and the date the stool was collected. If you need more than one sample, use a separate container for each sample. Collect a sample only once a day unless your doctor gives you other directions.

Take the sample to your doctor's office or the lab as soon as you can. You may need to take your sample to the lab within a certain time, usually within 30 minutes or less of collecting it. Tell your doctor if you think you may have trouble getting the sample to the lab on time.

Samples from babies and young children may be taken from diapers (if the stool does not have urine mixed with it). Or a narrow tube may be put into the baby's rectum while you hold the baby on your lap.

Sometimes a stool sample is collected using a rectal swab. The swab is inserted into the rectum, rotated gently, and then pulled out. It is placed in a clean, dry container and sent to the lab right away.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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