Stool tests are meant to check for various problems that may show up in a person’s stool(fecal matter). Things stool tests can check for are blood in stool or bacterial & parasitic infections. How the tests are done can vary.

A common test to check for blood in the stool has the patient take home a stool test kit. They line the inside toilet bowl the included waxy tissue paper to prevent the stool from being contaminated from the toilet water. Once the patient has defecated they will use the included plastic or wooden sample sticks to father samples of fecal matter which is then spread on to test area of the included cardboard sample collector. Blood in the stool may be an erratic & because of this these tests often require you to collect samples for 3 consecutive days.

Stool tests that check for bacterial or parasitic infection usually include multiple plastic vials filled with certain preservative chemicals to keep any bacteria or parasites alive while the tests are in transit to the lab. Some test, such as C. Difficile, do not use preservatives and must be refrigerated if not immediately taken to a lab. There should be labels on the sample containers, be sure to write your name and fill out an other information you need to on these labels before collecting the sample, it’s just easier this way.

The sample collection process is similar. The test kit includes a plastic bowl with support wings on it that go under your standard toilet seat. In this test you are not defecating into the toilet bowl directly, but instead into the sample bowl. Each preservative vial will have a sample spoon attached to the bottom of the screw-on lid. Collect a sample of the stool from the bowl and place it into the sample vial. It is recommended to sample multiple areas, specially areas that are watery or blood is visible, though try not to mingle sample sites for each test. Check the vial to make sure the contents meet or exceed the measuring line on the side of the vial. Once enough stool has been collected, screw the cap back on the vial and shake it to mix the fecal matter with the preservatives. If you are collecting a raw sample that does not go in a vial with preservatives in it then look for an included sampling device(spoon) and then tightly close the lid, wrap it in something protective and refrigerate it unless you’re taking it to the lab almost immediately for testing.