The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. To determine the cause of your diarrhea, the doctor will ask questions, such as:
- Does anyone else in your family have diarrhea?
- What kinds of food have you eaten recently?
- Do you drink well water?
- Do your children attend daycare?
- Have you traveled recently?
- Do you use laxatives?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you have any symptoms other than diarrhea (eg, fever, rash, aching joints)?
- What is your sexual history?
- Have you ever had abdominal surgery?
Tests may include:
- Laboratory analysis of a stool sample
- Blood tests
- Fasting or food elimination tests
- Digital rectal exam—examination of the rectum with the doctor's gloved finger inserted into your rectum
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted into the rectum to examine the rectum and the lower colon.
- Colonoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted through the rectum and into the colon to examine the lining of the colon
- Biopsy —removal of a sample of colon tissue for testing. This may be performed as part of a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
- Upper GI Series —a series of x-rays of the upper digestive system taken after drinking a barium solution (also called barium swallow)
- Barium enema —insertion of fluid into the rectum that makes the lining of your colon show up on an x-ray
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.