specimen, stool, how to obtain

Your doctor may wish at some point, for whatever reason, to obtain a specimen of your child's bowel movement. If so, here are a couple of tricks for getting the stool into that darn cup.

To obtain a stool specimen from a child still in diapers, just put the diaper on inside out when expecting a stool. Ask for a couple of tongue blades from your doctor or use a popsicle stick or some such to scrape the stool out and place it in the cup. Alternatively, we often just have the parent bring the diaper wrapped in a trash bag and send the whole mess to the lab. It won't hurt to ask for some guidance from the nurse.

If your child is out of diapers but too young to reliably hit the specimen cup, put plastic wrap over the toilet bowl so that it hangs down a bit and forms a receptacle for the stool. Again, use your imagination to get the stool into the cup - tongue blade, or just squish it in. Be creative.

Remember to ask about how long the stool can be kept at home. It is often acceptable to refrigerate the specimen overnight (securely wrapped and sealed of course). Remember, no matter how icky this is for you - somebody in the lab is going to have to do the tests on it.

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