How Is Chronic Diarrhea Diagnosed?
Diagnosis may be difficult and requires that your healthcare provider take a careful history and perform a physical exam. The types of tests that your healthcare provider orders will be based on your symptoms and history. Tests may include blood or stool tests; stool cultures may be used to test for bacteria. To detect parasites, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that three or more stool samples be examined. Special stains may be required to look for some parasites. If these initial tests do not reveal the cause of your diarrhea, additional tests may include radiographs (x-rays) and endoscopy. Endoscopy is a procedure in which a tube is inserted into the mouth or rectum so that the doctor, usually a gastroenterologist, can look at the intestine from the inside.