Stool analysis is the microscopic and macroscopic examination of a stool/feacal specimen to decipher the presence of parasites ova or larvae in them. The reasons for examining feacal specimens include:
- To identify the parasitic causes of blood and mucus in feaces and differentiate amoebic dysentery from bacterial dysentery.
- To detect occult/hidden blood in feaces as a way of providing evidence for peptic ulcer.
- To identify intestinal parasitic infections that requires treatment.
- To detect the presence of mucus flecks in the stool specimen in cases of cholera infections.
- To detect serious hookworm infection in patients with anaemia
The macroscopic examination of stool specimens involves the following:
- Appearance of the stool specimen. The appearance of the stool specimen under investigation is taken into cognizance with respect to its colour, as to whether it is pale, black or brown.
- Consistency of the stool specimen. The consistency of the stool specimen refers to the nature of the feaces, whether it is formed, semi-formed, unformed, or watery.
- Presence of worms in the stool specimen.
- Presence of blood, mucus, or pus in the stool specimen. It is noteworthy that the presence of blood on only the surface of a stool specimen does not necessarily indicate the presence of infections, as this may be due to anal or rectal bleeding caused while passing out the feaces.
The microscopic examination of stool specimens in the parasitological unit involves:
- Wet mounting/preparation of the stool specimen.
- Concentration/floatation technique.