Stool or faeces, as it is called in Latin, can reveal valuable information about what is wrong in the stomach, intestines or other parts of the gastrointestinal system.
The most common reason for analysing stool is to examine whether a particular type of bacterium or parasite has infected the intestines. The stool can also be analysed to determine what it contains – for instance, fat. The IFOBT test can be further used to diagnose causes of gastrointestinal bleeding, including colorectal cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.
Laboratory stool analyses are also used for examination of:
1-2 kg of bacteria in the intestines
An adult person’s intestines contains 1-2 kilograms of bacteria and is home to more than a thousand different bacterial species. Most species are harmless or even helpful and have an impact on everything – how fast you are, how much you weigh, and even what you think.
The human intestinal microbiota (formerly also called intestinal flora) has a unique composition, and no two people have the same microbiota. No one knows the optimal bacterial cocktail, but experts believe that the key to good health is many different types of bacteria – in other words, great diversity is important.
In case of imbalance in the intestinal microbiota – e.g. with predominance of bad intestinal bacteria, the risk of contracting a number of serious diseases increases. Therefore, it makes sense to collect stool samples and to examine them more closely.
Problems with stool collection at home
Unlike in most other laboratory tests, stool samples are usually collected by the patient, including in the patient’s home. However, many patients find it difficult, uncomfortable, and unhygienic to collect stool.
More than 50% of patients collect a stool sample directly from the toilet bowl*. Not only is this technically difficult, but it also creates potential measurement errors because some of the stools are lost in the surrounding water. Furthermore contamination occurs due to toilet disinfectants or other sources.
EasySampler – easy-to-use disposable collector
To solve this problem we at GP Medical Devices have developed the EasySampler series. It consists of two models for user-friendly collection of stool samples and one model for urine and watery stool collection. All models are made of natural, biodegradable special paper. The collection paper is attached to the toilet bowl, and flushed down the toilet after use.
Read more about the EasySampler series here.
*)Ahlquist, DA et al.: A Stoole Collection Device: The First Step in Occult Blood Testing. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1988; 108: 609 – 12