How should I collect a sample for a stool sample test?
I am glad to know that you have taken the first step towards screening for colorectal conditions.
Please note that a stool sample test is designed to test for "occult blood", which is blood traces within the stool that cannot be seen by the human eye. If you can already see blood either in your stools, or on the toilet paper after passing motion, you should seek a doctor's opinion on modalities for further bowel evaluation instead of proceeding with a stool sample as it will test positive for the visible blood.
In light of the considerations that certain colorectal conditions might not bleed everyday, and often only in small, trace amounts, to improve the accuracy of the stool sample test, we advise patients to adopt the following methods of stool collection:
1. Provide 2 stool samples from bowel movements on 2 different days. This is to improve the chances of detecting occult blood in your stool. The 2 days need not be consecutive.
2. Do not let the stool come in contact with other fluids. This will either dilute or contaminate the stool sample with fluids which may either wash the blood away, or contaminate it with blood from other sources (urine / menses / another person using the toilet).
3. There is no need to store it in the refrigerator. It just needs to be stored in a cool area. However, do not expose the collected sample to direct sunlight or a very warm environment (e.g. next to a stove) as it might affect the accuracy of the test.
I hope this helps.