The practical value of comprehensive stool analysis in detecting the cause of idiopathic chronic diarrhea

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2012 Sep;41(3):539-60. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


The practical diagnostic value of fecal analysis in the evaluation of patients with chronic nonbloody diarrhea is controversial. It is possible that variations in its value depend on how it is done and how the results are interpreted rather than on its intrinsic value. In the authors' city, stool analysis has been made easily accessible, with a commitment to quality assurance and interpretation. To evaluate its practical value, the results of stool analysis obtained on stool specimens submitted by gastroenterologists were retrospectively reviewed. The results indicate that stool analysis has substantial practical diagnostic value in patients with chronic diarrhea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chlorides / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diarrhea / etiology*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Laxatives / adverse effects
  • Laxatives / chemistry
  • Magnesium / adverse effects
  • Magnesium / analysis
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Steatorrhea / diagnosis


  • Chlorides
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Laxatives
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium