How does my doctor test to see if I have diarrhea?
Your doctor will first conduct a physical examination and review any medication you are on for side effects. Then, your doctor might also conduct tests to see what the cause is, these can include:
- A stool test – when this test is conducted you will need to provide your doctor with some of your stool – often he/she will provide you with a sanitary container and ask you to come back the next day with the sample. This helps to determine if either a parasite or bacterial infection is the cause of your diarrhoea and which antibiotic or medication would work best against the organism.
- Your doctor might also conduct a blood test to determine the cause in examining your blood. This blood test will also help your doctor determine the severity of your condition, the extent of dehydration (kidney function) and whether or not your blood septic markers are markedly raised.
- The final options for testing for the cause of diarrhoea, keep in mind that these are only conducted once your doctor has exhausted all other means of testing and treatment. These are known as flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Both of these procedures use a thin tube with a light and lens on the end to look into your colon, a camera at the end of the tube allows for the doctor to see exactly what is happening inside of your colon, this is connected to a computer. A colonoscopy examines the entire colon, whilst a sigmoidoscopy is only a partial examination of the left side of your colon.