In healthy people with diarrhea, and who appear well otherwise, the health care
professional may elect to do no tests at all. Stool cultures (when a sample of the stool is taken and examined in the lab for certain bacteria or parasites) are not usually necessary unless there is high fever, blood in the stool, recent travel,
or prolonged disease.
- In some cases, the health care professional may send a sample of the stool
(or sometimes a cotton swab from the patient's rectum) to the laboratory to
evaluate if the cause of diarrhea can be determined (such as certain bacteria or parasites present in
the body). It usually takes approximately one to two days for the results of these tests.
- Blood tests are sometimes necessary for patients with other medical problems or with severe disease.
- A colonoscopy is an endoscope procedure that allows the physician to view
the entire colon to evaluate for infections or structural abnormalities that
could cause diarrhea.
- Imaging tests such as X-rays or
CT scans are performed to rule out
structural abnormalities as the cause of diarrhea, particularly when pain is a
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2012
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