A stool analysis is a series of tests done on a stool (feces) sample to help diagnose certain conditions affecting the digestive tract . These conditions can include infection (such as from parasites, viruses, or bacteria), poor nutrient absorption, or cancer. The stool may be examined for hidden (occult) blood, fat, meat fibers, bile, white blood cells , and sugars called reducing substances. The pH of the stool also may be measured. A stool culture is done to find out if bacteria may be causing an infection.
When doctors test for fecal occult blood they are testing for the presence of microscopic or invisible blood in the stool, or feces. Fecal occult blood can be a sign of a problem in your digestive system, such as a growth, or polyp, or cancer in the colon or rectum. If microscopic blood is detected, it is important for your doctor to determine the source of bleeding to properly diagnose and treat the problem.