Stool For Occult Blood
What is Stool For Occult Blood?
The stool test for occult blood checks the presence of blood which is not visible to the naked eye. Occult blood means the hidden blood which you can't see. Occult blood in the stool can indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract which can be due to asymptomatic ulcerated lesions of the GI tract, polyps, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, Ulcers, and Colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease). The presence of blood in the sample may also be a sign of colorectal cancer. A stool for occult blood test can be used as a screening test for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. It can also help in analyzing the most effective treatment which could be used.
Why is Stool For Occult Blood done?
- To screen for digestive tract bleeding, which may be an indicator of colon cancer, asymptomatic ulcerated lesions of the GI tract, polyps, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and Colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease).
- To evaluate unexpected anemia
What does Stool For Occult Blood Measure?
Invisible blood (occult blood in stool) can be a screening test of carcinoma colon (a type of cancer) and can help in early diagnosis and management. Most cases of colon cancer begin with benign intestinal polyps which are relatively common in people over the age of 50. Mostly, these polyps may not cause any health problems, but some can become cancerous. These finger-like growths which extend into the intestinal cavity (lumen) or the rectum. They can be fragile and may bleed occasionally when fecal mass brushes against them. This can be detected by a fecal or stool occult blood test. This small amount of blood may be the first and sometimes the only sign of early colon cancer thereby making a stool for occult blood a valuable screening tool for colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer.
It is recommended that at least three stool samples should be collected on different days. The American Cancer Society has stated that a single test performed at the time of a digital rectal exam in a health practitioner's office is not recommended because the sample may not be sensitive enough to screen for cancer. The home FOBT or FIT is recommended because the collection of stools on three different days increases the chance of detecting cancer. Furthermore, it is recommended that those who choose this method of colon cancer screening should get screened every year.
Interpreting Stool For Occult Blood results
Normal result: negative means occult blood is not present in the stool.
Positive stool occult blood test means that there is bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract asymptomatic ulcerated lesions of the GI tract, polyps, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, Colitis, and colorectal cancer. If stool for occult blood is positive, then additional tests may be required such as colonoscopy in order to detect the exact location and cause of your bleeding.