Your poo can tell a story.

09 October 2023

We get it – nobody wants to talk about poo, but if your doctor has referred you for faecal (poo) testing, it’s because poo can tell a lot about your gut health.

SA Pathology performs faecal testing to look for a range of conditions including bowel cancer, poor food absorption and infections with bacteria, viruses, and even parasites.

Some of the more common tests include faecal calprotectin, faecal elastase, faecal occult blood, and enteric pathogens – so what are they?

Faecal calprotectin – tests for inflammation in the bowel, which may help your doctor work out if you have inflammatory bowel disease. If you do, it can also be used to monitor the level of inflammation if you have a flare-up.

Faecal elastase – checks if your pancreas is working properly. Your doctor might ask you to do this test if you have signs of poor food absorption.

Faecal occult blood test – looks for indications of bowel disease such as pre-cancerous polyps and bowel cancer. This test is also part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Enteric pathogens test – looks for diarrhoea-causing pathogens, for example Salmonella, Norovirus, Giardia and other pathogens that enter the body through the mouth, either from contaminated food and water, or by contact with infected animals or their environments.

Knowing what’s causing your gut problems can help your doctor to provide appropriate treatment to have your gut feeling better, sooner.

Regardless of which test your doctor has recommended, collection is easy, and specimens can be dropped at your nearest SA Pathology collection centre.



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