How To Prepare
Many medicines can change the results
of this test. You will need to avoid certain medicines depending on which
kind of stool analysis you have. You may need to stop taking medicines such as
antacids, antidiarrheal medicines, antiparasite medicines, antibiotics,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 1 to
2 weeks before you have the test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the
nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.
Be sure to
tell your doctor if you have:
- Recently had an
X-ray test using barium
contrast material, such as a
barium enema or
upper gastrointestinal series (barium swallow). Barium
can interfere with test results.
- Traveled in recent weeks or
months, especially if you have traveled outside the country. This helps your doctor look for the parasites, fungi,
viruses, or bacteria that may be causing a problem.
If your stool is being tested for blood, you may need to avoid certain foods for 2 to 3 days before the test. This depends on what kind of stool test you use. And do not do the test during your menstrual period or if you have active bleeding from hemorrhoids. If you aren't sure about how to prepare, ask your doctor.
Do not use a stool sample for testing that has been in contact with toilet bowl cleaning products that turn the water blue.
How It Is Done
Stool samples can be collected at home,
in your doctor's office, at 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 and two sterile
You may need to collect more than one sample over 1 to
3 days. Follow the same procedure for each day.
samples as follows:
- Urinate before collecting the stool so that you
do not get any urine in the stool sample.
- Put on gloves before
handling your stool. Stool can contain germs that spread infection.
Wash your hands after you remove your gloves.
- Pass stool (but no
urine) into a dry container. You may be given a plastic basin that can be
placed under the toilet seat to catch the stool.
- Either solid or liquid stool can be
- 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
- If you are constipated, you may be given a small
- Do not collect the sample from the toilet
- Do not mix toilet paper, water, or soap with the sample.
- Place the lid on the container and label it with your name, your
doctor's name, and the date the stool was collected. Use one container for each
day's collection, and collect a sample only once a day unless your doctor gives
you other directions.