Flushable reagent stool blood test

Alternative names 
Stool occult blood test - flushable home test; Fecal occult blood test - flushable home test

This is a test performed at home with disposable pads that detects the presence of hidden (occult) blood in the stool. The pads are available at drugstores without a prescription.

Brand names include EZ-Detect™ and ColoCARE.

How the test is performed

There is no direct handling of stool with this test. You simply note any changes on a card and then mail the results card to your physician.

Urinate if you need to, then flush the toilet before you defecate. After the bowel movement, place the chemically treated tissue pad in the toilet. Watch for a change of color on the test area of the pad (results usually appear within two minutes). Repeat for two more consecutive bowel movements. Note the results on the card provided. Then flush the pad away.

The different tests have different methods to check for water quality. Check the package for instructions.

How to prepare for the test

Some drugs may interfere with this test.

Check with your health care provider regarding medication changes that may be necessary. Never discontinue or decrease any medication without consulting your health care provider.

Check package instructions for dietary restrictions.

How the test will feel
This test involves only normal bowel functions, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed
This test is mainly performed for colorectal cancer screening. It may also be recommended in the evaluation of anemia.

Normal Values
A negative result is normal.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results of the flushable test may indicate the same issues as the guaiac smear test:

  • Colon polyps  
  • Colon cancer or other GI (gastrointestinal) tumors  
  • Esophagitis  
  • Gastritis  
  • GI trauma or bleeding from recent GI surgery  
  • Hemorrhoids  
  • Inflammatory bowel disease  
  • Peptic ulcer  
  • Angiodysplasia of the GI tract  
  • GI infections  
  • Esophageal varices and portal hypertensive gastropathy

Additional non-GI related causes of positive guaiac test may include:

  • Nose bleed  
  • Coughing up blood

Abnormal test results require follow-up with your physician.

What the risks are
There can be false-positive or false-negative results. These are similar as for the traditional guaiac smear tests.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by Potos A. Aagen, M.D.

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