Fecal smear is a laboratory test to check a stool sample for bacteria and other germs that can cause diseases in the digestive tract.
A stool sample is needed.
There are many ways to collect the sample.
Do not mix urine, water, or toilet tissue with the sample.
For children wearing diapers:
Make sure you follow your health care provider's instructions for returning the sample. Return the sample to the laboratory as soon as possible. The sample should not include toilet tissue or urine.
The stool sample is sent to a lab where a small amount is placed on a slide. The slide is placed under a microscope and checked for the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or viruses. A stain may be placed on the sample that highlights certain germs under the microscope.
There is no preparation needed.
There is no discomfort.
Your health care provider may order this test if you have severe diarrhea that will not go away or that keeps returning. The test result may be used to select the correct antibiotic treatment.
A normal result means there are no disease-causing germs present.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
An abnormal result means that abnormal bacteria or other organisms have been found in the stool sample, which may be due to an infection of the digestive tract.
There are no risks associated with a fecal smear.
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Updated by: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. 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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