Stool culture; Culture - stool; Gastroenteritis fecal culture
Often other stool tests are done in addition to the culture, such as:
A fecal culture is a lab test to find organisms in the stool (feces) that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and disease.
A stool sample is needed.
There are many ways to collect the sample.
You can collect the sample:
Do not mix urine, water, or toilet tissue with the sample.
For children wearing diapers:
Return the sample to the laboratory as soon as possible. Do not include toilet paper or urine in the specimen.
In the lab, a technician places a sample of the specimen in a special dish. The dish is then filled with a gel that boosts the growth of bacteria or other germs. If there is growth, the germs are identified. The lab technician may also do more tests to determine the best treatment.
There is no discomfort.
You will get a collection container for the stool specimen.
There are no abnormal bacteria or other organisms in the sample.
Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
There are no risks.
Abnormal results may mean you have an intestinal infection.
The test is performed when your health care provider suspects that you may have a gastrointestinal infection. It may be done if you have severe diarrhea that does not go away or that keeps coming back.
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Hall GS, Woods GL. Medical bacteriology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 58.
Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25thed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 140.
Siddiqi HA, Salwen MJ, Shaikh MF. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrintestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 22.
Review Date: 5/11/2016
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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