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Stool tests

Some GI conditions require a stool sample to confirm a diagnosis. This involves bringing a stool sample to the doctor’s office so it can be tested in the laboratory. Stool tests could include:

Stool culture

This checks for the presence of abnormal bacteria in the digestive tract that may cause diarrhea and other problems.

Fecal occult blood test

This checks for hidden (occult) blood in the stool.

Fecal fat test

With this test, you child is asked to eat a high fat diet for several days. You collect small samples of stool in sealed containers for three days, and then your child's physician will send them to a laboratory so that the amount of fat contained in your child’s stool can be measured. If the digestive tract is working properly, only small amounts of fat will be present in the stool; the rest of the fat that was in the diet will have been digested and reabsorbed by the body. If your child has a condition known as malabsorption, then the intestinal tract cannot digest fats as well as it should and elevated amounts of fat will pass through into the stool.

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