Stool Routine & Culture

Clinical definition of the stool routine test
A stool test involves the analysis of fecal matter to diagnose a medical condition generally related to a problem in the stomach, intestines, or another part of the gastrointestinal system. In may also be done to screen for gastrointestinal bleeding, which may be an indicator of colon cancer.

Why is the stool routine test done?
Various Stool Tests may be done for different conditions. The most commonly used stool tests are as follows:
Blood in the stool: It checks for blood which may be visible in the stool which may be due to a rectal tear, called a fissure, caused by straining against a hard stool.
Occult blood in the Stool: Checking the stool for blood that is not visibly apparent. A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) checks for hidden (occult) blood in the stool (feces).This may be caused by certain kinds of infectious diarrhea, bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract, and other conditions.
Culturing the Stool: Stool can be cultured to identify disease-causing bacteria or viruses.
Microbiology tests for Ova & Parasites: Parasitic diseases such as Ascariasis, Hookworm, Strongyloidiasis and Whipworm can be diagnosed by examining stools under a microscope for the presence of worm larvae or eggs.
Chemical tests: A fecal pH test is one where a specimen of feces is tested for acidity in order to diagnose a medical condition. Human feces are normally alkaline. An acidic stool can indicate a digestive problem such as lactose intolerance or a contagion such as E. coli or Rotavirus.
Hanging Drop Preparation: To observe for motility of living bacteria.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the stool routine test is done?

  • Diarrhea for several days
  • Blood and/or mucus in the loose stools

Who should do the stool routine test (Target population)?
Persons showing the signs & symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection and having digestive complaints.

What should I do before the stool routine test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *


Hands must be washed before beginning the procedure.

Pass the stool specimen directly into the clean stool container provided.

DO NOT pass the specimen into the toilet.

DO NOT urinate on the specimen or into the container.
DO NOT allow any water to mix with the specimen.

DO NOT contaminate with toilet tissue.

The specimen must be returned to the lab within 1 hour of collection.

No special preparations required.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my stool routine test results?

Macroscopic Examination

Normal  Reading

Color and Consistency

Solid, semi solid









Chemical Examination



Occult blood


Reducing substances


Microscopic examination

Epithelial cells


Pus cells

1-2 /hpf

Red Blood cells




Fat Globules


Veg. fibers


Undigested starch granules


Yeast cells




Ova of Helminths


Protoza (Vegetative form or Cystic form)


Hanging Drop Preparation

No motility observed

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the stool routine test

  • Colon cancer
  • Other gastrointestinal problems
  • Acute / Chronic Amebic dysentery
  • Constipation
  • Piles
  • Cholera
  • Severe infection or ulcerization of intestine
  • Acute infection by worms
  • Dysentery

Other tests related to the stool routine test

  • Fecal Occult Blood
  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium

Synonyms : Ova and parasites (O & P) -Stool, Clostridium difficile toxin, Entamoeba histolytica antigen, Hanging Drop Preparation-Stool
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Stool Routine And Microscopy