Stool Blood Testing

Finding blood in your stool is a warning sign that you may have a potentially serious health issue. What you may not know is that you may have blood in your stool that is microscopic so you don't see it and that even this tiny quantity may signal danger.



Most people know that internal bleeding is not normal; that finding blood in one's stool is a warning sign of a potentially serious health problem. But what many people don't realize is that a person's stool can have blood in it that is not visible to the naked eye. And even microscopic quantities of blood in one's bowel movements can signal danger.

Blood in stool is caused by a slow (and often intermittent) bleeding of the inner portion of the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. A stool blood test or screening (also known as a stool occult blood test or fecal occult blood test) is performed to detect that hidden blood (or "occult" blood) in one's bowel movements. It is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive procedure in which one or more small samples of stool are examined after being exposed to a chemical agent responsive to blood. Often 3 stool samples are tested in order to increase the likelihood of any occult blood being detected. In our office 3 consecutive stool samples are tested.


One of the most valuable benefits of a stool blood screening is that it is an early warning sign of colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) before any symptoms--like changes in bowel movements, rectal bleeding, or abdominal pain occur. Early detection of these cancers while they are still small and before they have spread (metastasized) makes it much easier for doctors to treat them. In fact, recent numbers show that cancer detected early enough has a 90% cure rate.

A fecal occult blood test can also help identify numerous other diseases and conditions before any symptoms ever become apparent, including anemia (or abnormally low red blood cell levels), Crohn's disease, esophagitis, gastritis, anal fissures, GI tract infection, GI trauma, GI tumor, inflammatory bowel disease, colon polyps, ulcerative colitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcer, and several other gastrointestinal conditions. It should also be noted here that aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can also cause bleeding of the stomach, small intestines, or large intestines.

Unfortunately, only 40% of people who should be screen for fecal occult blood are being screened, with barely 51% of people over 50 reporting their doctor even mentioning to them any sort of screening for colorectal cancer. The National Cancer Society recommends that every person--men and women alike--over the age of 50 have a stool blood screening done at least once every 3-5 years, however research continues to bear evidence to suggest that a stool blood screening should really be performed annually--and not just by people over 50, but by men and women of all ages.

Here at Essential Health Solutions we use an easy take home test kit for our stool occult blood testing. In contrast to the Guaiac Smear Test which can be costly, must be conducted by a physician and processed in a lab, we use what's called a Flushable Reagent test, which a person can perform on their own, in the privacy of their own home. The test uses a disposable pad and requires no contact with the stool.

Our test protocol is quick, easy-to-use, convenient, and sanitary, as well as being accurate and reliable. It is clinically proven, used by physicians and hospitals worldwide, and FDA approved. It requires no dietary restrictions and no lengthy and expensive laboratory processing.

As false positive readings are possible, and as no stool occult blood test can diagnose colon cancer or any of the other above-named conditions, if a patient's stool occult blood test comes back positive, then further diagnostic testing may be recommended to determine if there is actual bleeding and why it’s occurring.