How It Is Done continued...
Take the sealed container to your doctor's office or the
laboratory as soon as possible. You may need to deliver your sample to the lab
within a certain time. Tell your doctor if you think you may have trouble
getting the sample to the lab on time.
If the stool is collected
in your doctor's office or the hospital, you will pass the stool in a plastic
container that is inserted under the toilet seat or in a bedpan. A health
professional will package the sample for laboratory analysis.
will need to collect stool for 3 days in a row if the sample is being tested
for quantitative fats. You will begin collecting stool on the morning of the
first day. The samples are placed in a large container and then
You may need to collect several stool samples over 7
to 10 days if you have digestive symptoms after traveling outside the
Samples from babies and young children may be collected
from diapers (if the stool is not contaminated with urine) or from a
small-diameter glass tube inserted into the baby's rectum while the baby is
held on an adult's lap.
Sometimes a stool sample is collected
using a rectal swab that contains a preservative. The swab is inserted into the
rectum, rotated gently, and then withdrawn. It is placed in a clean, dry
container and sent to the lab right away.
How It Feels
There is no pain while collecting a stool
sample. If you are constipated, straining to pass stool may be painful.
If your health professional uses a rectal swab to collect the sample, you
may feel some pressure or discomfort as the swab is inserted into your
Any stool sample may contain germs that can
spread disease. It is important to carefully
wash your hands and use careful handling techniques to avoid spreading
A stool analysis is a series of tests
done on a stool (feces) sample to help diagnose certain conditions affecting
the digestive tract .
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Stool analysis test
results usually take at least 1 to 3 days.
The stool appears brown, soft, and
well-formed in consistency.
The stool does not contain blood, mucus,
pus, undigested meat fibers, harmful
The stool is shaped like a tube.
pH of the stool is 7.0–7.5.1
The stool contains less than 0.25 grams per deciliter (g/dL)[less than 13.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)] of sugars called reducing
The stool contains 2–7 grams of fat per 24 hours (g/24h).1
The stool is black, red, white, yellow, or
The stool is liquid or very
There is too much stool.
The stool contains blood, mucus, pus,
undigested meat fibers, harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.
The stool contains low levels of
enzymes, such as trypsin or elastase.
The pH of the stool is less than 7.0 or
greater than 7.5.
The stool contains 0.25 g/dL
(13.9 mmol/L) or more of
sugars called reducing factors.
The stool contains more than 7 g/24h of fat (if
your fat intake is about 100 g a day).