A stool culture is done to identify bacteria or viruses that may be causing an infection. Although more than 50 different kinds of bacteria normally live in the Reference intestines Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, large numbers of abnormal bacteria, viruses, Reference fungi Opens New Window, or Reference parasites Opens New Window can grow in the intestines and cause infections and diseases.
For a stool culture, a stool sample is collected in a clean container and placed under conditions that allow bacteria or other organisms to grow. The type of infection is identified by noting the appearance of the growth, by performing chemical tests on the stool sample, and by looking at the sample under a microscope.
Depending on what your stool is being tested for, you may only need to collect one stool sample, or you may need several stool samples over a period of days.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology