A Faecal Occult stool test is a test that can detect tiny traces of blood in the stool which generally is such small traces that are hidden or cannot be seen traditionally under normal stool tests. The test is clinically useful as it can indicate the presence of disease at a relatively early stage when stools may appear normal. It is highly recommended to have this test ordered if you have a family history of bowel cancer or you suspect that you may have blood in the stool.
Generally, when you test for faecal occult blood there are two types which are commonly used for analyses. There is a chemical test based on a chemical reaction to haem which is a part of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule found in red blood cells. There is also an immunological test which uses antibodies that recognise haemoglobin. At NutriPATH both types of methods are used for testing. The faecal occult blood test is used to detect small amounts of blood in the stool. If the test is positive, a colonoscopy will be needed to find the reason for the bleeding.
- Family history of bowel cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Blood in stool