Changes in bowel movements can be concerning, but how do you know when and if you need to seek help?
A change in bowel movements can be a difficult problem to figure out. Everybody's gastrointestinal tract functions differently. While most people move their bowels one to two times a day, some people go three to four times a day, while others only once or twice a week. A change in the number or consistency of stool should alert you to see your physician.
Depending on your age, and other associated symptoms, a gastrointestinal evaluation may be warranted. If there is associated weight loss, abdominal pain or bleeding, an urgent evaluation with your physician is imperative. If not, you can attempt to see if the diarrhea resolves on its own. Over the counter antidiarrheals such as immodium or kaopectate can be taken to try to stop the diarrhea. If you are experiencing pain, or bleeding, check with your physician prior to taking any medications to stop diarrhea. You might hav...
Definition A stool Gram stain is a laboratory test that uses different stains to detect and identify bacteria in a stool sample. The Gram stain method is sometimes used to rapidly diagnose bacterial infections. Alternative Names Gram stain of stool; Feces Gram stain How the test is performed You will need to collect a stool sample. There are many ways to collect a sample. You can catch the stool on plastic wrap that is loosely placed over the toilet bowl and held in place by the toilet seat, and then place the sample in a clean container. (One test kit supplies a special toilet tissue that you use to collect the sample.) Do not take stool samples from the toilet bowl water, because this can cause errors. If you need to collect a sample from a child still in diapers, line the diaper with plastic wrap. Position the plastic wrap so that it keeps the stool from any urine. Mixing of urine and stool can spoil a good sample. Your health care provider will give you instructions on when and how to retu...
Bloody stools often are a sign of an injury or disorder in the digestive tract. Your doctor may use the term "melena" to describe black, tarry, and foul-smelling stools or "hematochezia" to describe red- or maroon-colored stools.
Stools - bloody; Hematochezia; Melena; Stools - black or tarry
Blood in the stool may come from anywhere along your digestive tract, from mouth to anus. It may be present in such small amounts that you cannot actually see it, and it is only detectable by a fecal occult blood test.
When there is enough blood to change the appearance of your stools, the doctor will want to know the exact color to help find the site of bleeding. To make a diagnosis, your doctor may use endoscopy or special x-ray studies.
Black stool usually means that the blood is coming from the upper part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This includes the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small i...
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