You are on page 1of 7

Fecal Occult Blood Test The fecal occult blood test is one of a variety of colorectal cancer screening tests

. When doctors test for fecal occult blood, they are testing for the presence of microscopic or invisible blood in the stool, or feces. Fecal occult blood can be a sign of a problem in your digestive system, such as a growth, or polyp, or cancer in the colon or rectum. If microscopic blood is detected, it is important for your doctor to determine the source of bleeding to properly diagnose and treat the problem. What causes blood to appear in stool? Blood may appear in the stool because of one or more of the following conditions: Benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) growths or polyps of the colon Hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels near the anus and lower rectum that can rupture, causing bleeding) Anal fissures (splits or cracks in the lining of the anal opening) Intestinal infections that cause inflammation Ulcers Ulcerative colitis Crohn's disease Diverticular disease, caused by outpouchings of the colon wall Abnormalities of the blood vessels in the large intestine Gastrointestinal bleeding may be microscopic (occult blood), or may be easily seen as red blood, or black tar-like bowel movements, called melena. How do I take a fecal occult blood test? The fecal occult blood test requires the collection of 3 stool samples. The stool samples should be taken one day apart, because colon cancers may bleed from time to time, rather than consistently. You can purchase fecal occult blood test kits at the pharmacy to perform the test at home, or your doctor may give you the home test during one of your appointments. These tests provide specific instructions, and most offer a toll-free number to call if you have questions. The stool samples are collected in a clean container and evaluated by detecting color changes on a test card, or by sending the samples, in a special container and envelope, directly to the doctor’s office for analysis. Your doctor may examine the samples with a microscope or with chemical tests. How should I prepare for a fecal occult blood test? The test results are largely affected by how you prepare for the test, so it is important to follow the instructions carefully. Do not perform the test if you have: Diarrhea Colitis Constipation Diverticulitis Ulcers

a special diet is often recommended for 48 to 72 hours before the test. Your doctor will have to determine the source of the bleeding.Severe throat irritation Hemorrhoid flare-ups Your period Because certain foods can alter the test results. Clevelandclinic. the fecal occult blood test is recommended yearly for everyone starting at age 50. The following foods should not be eaten 48 to 72 hours before taking the test: Beets Broccoli Cantaloupe Carrots Cauliflower Cucumbers Fish Grapefruit Horseradish Mushrooms Poultry Radishes Red meat (especially meat that is cooked rare) Turnips Vitamin C-enriched foods or beverages Your doctor will go over your medicines with you before the test. You should continue to follow your doctor's recommendations for regular cancer screening. either by doing a colonoscopy (an examination of the entire colon) or by doing an upper endoscopy (an examination to determine if the bleeding is coming from the stomach or small intestine). since you may need to stop taking certain medicines 48 hours before the test. What do the test results mean? A positive fecal occult blood test means that blood has been found in the stool. How often do I need to do this test? To allow for the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. A negative test result means that no blood was found in the stool sample during the testing .

it could be related to lactose intolerance.4 Healthy Stool Unhealthy Stool Stool that is hard to pass. or possibly a blocked bile duct). The Bristol Stool Chart is a handy tool that may help you learn what you’re going for. and those are listed too. wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a shower White. formed into one long shape and not a bunch of pieces difficult to clean off About one to two inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long Narrow. antacids may also produce white stool Natural smell. instead of in pieces. or mushy and watery. Ideally. miscellaneous cells and mucus. so this warrants a call to your physician.” as some call it). artificial sweeteners (sorbito l and Splenda). If you’re one to poop and scoot quickly out of the bathroom without looking in the toilet. black stools can also come from certain medications. or requires straining Hard lumps and pieces. there are a few signs that ARE cause for concern. or even pasty and Medium to light brown Smooth and soft. odor. if you have black . tarry stools.. pale or gray stools may indicate a lack of bile. 2 The characteristics of your stool will tell you a good deal about how happy and healthy your digestive tract is – the color. pencil-like or ribbon-like stools: can indicate a bowel obstruction or tumor – or worst case.” Type 4 is the Holy Grail. smooth and soft” to “soft blobs that pass easily. live and dead bacteria. a gallbladder problem. definitely warrant a call to your physician5 S-shaped. size. but if they persist. supplements or consuming black licorice. pancreatic disorders. which may suggest a serious problem (hepatitis.3 Fiber tends to bulk up your stool and acts like glue to keep the stool stuck together. The rest is a fetid combination of fiber. not repulsive (I’m not saying it will smell good) Yellow stools may indicate giardia infection. weight loss. tarry stools or bright red stools may indicate bleeding in the GI tract. or a condition known as Gilbert’s syndrome – if you see this. Listen and Smell Before You Flush What’s normal and what’s not when you look into the toilet? The following table will help you narrow down what to look for. or a reaction to fructose or gluten. it’s best to be evaluated by your healthcare provider Quiet and gentle dive into the water. Look. your stool should approximate Types 3. Of course.. “like a sausage or a snake. call your doctor Uniform texture habits) Sinks slowly Presence of undigested food (more of a concern if accompanied by diarrhea. colon cancer. If your stool is on the softer side. which comes from the shape of your lower intestine6 Black.1. narrow stools on an infrequent basis are not so concerning. short of diarrhea (“soft serve. or other changes in bowel Floaters or splashers . and even the sound it makes when it hits the water and whether it’s a “sinker” or a “floater” are all relevant information. If you have a change in stools accompanied by abdominal pain. please report this to your physician. shape. painful.What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health What is Normal Stool? Your stool is about 75 percent water. so that you aren’t needlessly alarmed. then you might want to slow down a nd look should fall into the bowl with the slightest little “whoosh” sound – not a loud. 4 and 5. cirrhosis.

it’s a good sign th at trillions of hard working gut bacteria are doing their jobs. Think about it – were it not for an exit. The thing to watch for is a sudden change in your bowel habits. something is off – moving your bowels should take no more effort than urinating or passing gas. Speaking of malodorous things. medications. we’d all blow up like balloons! How Often Should You Move Your Bowels? Normal bowel habits vary. illness. what about gas? Passing gas (flatulence) is normal. so this is more of a concern with infants and toddlers. Most cases of CF are diagnosed before the age of 2. childbirth. travel. which builds up and causes life-threatening lung infections and serious digestive problems. Stinky stool can be associated with a number of health problems. stress and a whole host of other things.9 Constipation and Diarrhea . Many factors can affect regularity. Not only is it normal. What’s more important than frequency is the ease with which you move your bowels. especially if accompanied by blood or abdominal pain Does Your Stool Have a Really Bad Odor? If your stool has an extraordinarily bad odor. what we’re really talking about is what’s regular for you. hormonal fluctuations. such as diet. People pass gas an average 14 times per day – anywhere from one to four pints of it!8 Ninety nine percent of gas is odorless.Increased mucus in stool: This can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. it should not be ignored. such as:7 A malabsorptive disorder Celiac disease Crohn’s disease Chronic pancreatitis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease caused by a defective gene that causes your body to produce abnormally thick. exercise. I am referring to an odor above and beyond the normally objectionable stool odor. so you may even be unaware you’re passing it. If you need to push or strain. When we talk about regularity. or even colon cancer. Three bowel movements per day to three per week is considered the normal range. sleep patterns. or ulcerative colitis. sticky mucus. surgery.

or hormonal disturbances Emotional stress Problems with the muscles or nerve in the intestine. the result is diarrhea because your intestine doesn’t have time to absorb all of the water. or sluggishness after going number two. you may end up constipated because too much water has been absorbed. Straining is not normal. colorectal cancer. Chronic. crampiness. dry stools that you have to strain to move. When this time is significantly shortened. childbirth. dry stools. make sure it is used for only a very short period of time. intestinal obstruction. untreated constipation can lead to fecal impaction. Common Causes of INCREASED Bowel Frequency/Diarrhea11 Lifestyle Diseases and Conditions Eating more fruits and vegetables (increased fiber) Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) Increased exercise Crohn’s disease Drinking more water Emotional stress Food allergies Ulcerative colitis Celiac disease Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Medication side effects Gastrointestinal infection Common Causes of DECREASED Bowel Frequency/Constipation12. antacids.The average body takes between 18 and 72 hours to convert food into poop and pass it on out. your risk of becoming constipated increases significantly. Conversely. when transit time is leng thened. rectum or anus Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Ignoring the urge to “go. for example). multiple sclerosis. and excess or overused laxatives Less often: diverticulitis. such as from fissures or hemorrhoids Drugs such as narcotic painkillers (codeine.10 which can be a serious medical condition. nor are experiencing feelings of incomplete elimination.” travel and scheduling factors that cause you to hold it Insufficient exercise Inadequate hydration Diabetes Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Calcium or iron supplements Local pain or discomfort around the anus. less fruits and vegetables Pregnancy. Constipation is defined as passing hard. 13 Change in diet. Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injury Food allergies . less fiber. If you absolutely must use a laxative. If you’re over the age of 65. resulting in hard. antidepressants. and it’s typically accompanied by decreased frequency of defecation. Laxatives should be avoided at all cost and used only as a last resort. diuretics. bloating.

and reduces hand contamination. excessive amounts of caffeine. chemical additives. MSG. The bidets pay for themselves in no time with the money saved on toilet paper. You still need a sheet or two of toilet paper to dry yourself. rye. organic vegetables and fruits that provide good nutrients and fiber. Antidepressants. Mercola. Nearly everyone that I know has received one just loves them. then look at the following factors and consider making a few changes. But more importantly they clean your bottom far more effectively than simply using dry toilet paper. such as sauerkraut. most of your fiber should come from vegetables. If you aren’t achieving poo perfection. you might want to try a bidet. and kefir (if you tolerate dairy). Once you experience a bidet. such as pain killers like codeine or hydrocodone which will slow your bowel function. pure water Get plenty of exercise daily Avoid pharmaceutical drugs. good options include psyllium and freshly ground organic flax seed (shoot for 35 grams of fiber per day) Make sure you stay well hydrated with fresh. I’ve made my favorite bidet available in the Mercola store. and antibiotics can cause a variety of GI disruptions Address emotional challenges with tools like EFT Consider squatting instead of sitting to move your bowels. you’ll probably never go back to toilet paper! A bidet is refreshing in a way toilet paper will never be. barley. Remove all sources of gluten from your diet (the most common sources are wheat. but that is a tiny fraction of what you would need to clean yourself. not from grains Avoid artificial sweeteners. These strategies will help reverse constipation or diarrhea. as well as helping save valuable environmental resources. squatting straightens your rectum. add a probiotic supplement if you suspect you’re not getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet alone Try increasing your fiber intake. and processed foods as they are all detrimental to your gastrointestinal (and immune) function Boost your intestinal flora by adding naturally fermented foods into your diet. Whenever I travel it is one of the items that I miss most from my home.How to Score a Home Run with Your Bowel Movements Most gastrointestinal problems can be prevented or resolved by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Bidets are the norm in Europe—no bathroom is found without one. spelt and other grains) Eat a diet that includes whole foods. as no plumber is required. They are easy to install. or if you don’t feel right. rich in . in addition to helping prevent recurrences. relaxes your puborectalis muscle and encourages the complete emptying of your bowel without straining. excess sugar (especially fructose). pickles. and has been scientifically shown to relieve constipation and hemorrhoids Consider a Bidet As a practical and affordable alternative to toilet paper. is gentler and less irritating than wiping with paper.

. however. a kit containing the culture medium and to a method for detection of a parasite such as Dientamoeba fragilis and/or another parasite. Trichuris trichiura and hookworms distinctly.5% nigrosin in 10% formaldehyde mixed with 5% eosin yellow in 10% formaldehyde was substituted for the malachite green solution used in the standard Kato-Katz method. lumbricoides and T. in which 7. trichiura by both methods were equal. Entebbe. The egg counts of S. Uganda. The modified method. Unbound MEDLINE Field evaluation of an improved Kato-Katz thick smear technique for quantitative determination of helminth eggs in faeces. showed significantly higher hookworm egg counts (p < 0.001). and a liquid phase including a serum and a peptone. Hookworm eggs were equal one hour after preparation of the slides as 16 hours after preparation. A. Ascaris lumbricoides.Culture medium and a method for detection of parasites US 8372599 B2 Abstract This invention relates to a culture medium. mansoni. were studied with both methods. Abstract A new method for the quantification of helminth eggs in faeces was developed. Faecal smears from 100 pupils in Kigungu. The intensity of infection detected was higher with the modified method for both S. The slides made with this new technique could be accurately read within one hour. This modification revealed the eggs of parasites like Schistosoma mansoni. The culture medium of the invention is bi-phasic and includes a solid phase containing an egg slope or agar slope. mansoni and hookworms.