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Stool cultures are often taken to identify bacteria or viruses that may be causing an infection.

Stool Cultures

Although more than 50 different kinds of bacteria normally live in the intestines, large numbers of abnormal bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites can grow in the intestines and cause infections and or diseases.

Why would my doctor order a stool culture?

The stool test is performed when your health care provider suspects that you may have a gastrointestinal infection. It may be performed if you have severe diarrhea that does not go away or that keeps coming back.

It may also be done if you have diarrhea and have recently taken antibiotics, to see if bacteria such as C. difficile (which can cause diarrhea after people take antibiotics) are in the intestine.


Other Tests performed with the Stool Cultures

Often other stool tests are done in addition to the culture, such as:

  • Gram stain of stool
  • Fecal smear
  • Stool ova and parasites exam


Your doctor at Suburban Gastroenterology will discuss the lab results from your stool cultures – which you may access via Suburban Gastroenterology’s Patient Portal – and his/her recommendations for the right treatment plan should you have abnormal results showing an intestinal infection.

Please contact us at 630-527-6450 with any questions you may have on your stool cultures.


Helpful Links

National Institutes of Health



Suburban Gastroenterology