Biomarkers

What is Fecal Occult Blood? High and low values | Lab results explained

Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) checks stool samples for hidden (occult) blood loss from the mouth to the colon. A positive result indicates either upper gastrointestinal bleeding or lower gastrointestinal bleeding. The test does not directly detect colon cancer but is often used in clinical screening for that disease. It can also be used in early diagnosis of active occult blood loss in anemia or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOUR FECAL OCCULT BLOOD RESULT IS TOO HIGH?

Blood in the stool is a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract. This could indicate cancer, polyps, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, also called colitis.

– Assess for cause of bleeding (i.e., Ulcers, polyps, diverticulitis, IBD, colorectal cancer, etc.)

– One positive test warrants further investigation. The fecal occult blood test can only detect the presence or absence of blood — it doesn’t indicate potential sources of bleeding.

– Occult blood in the stool may indicate colon cancer or polyps in the colon or rectum, though not all cancers or polyps bleed.

– Your test could show a positive result when you have no cancer (false-positive result) if you have bleeding from other sources, such as a stomach ulcer, hemorrhoid, or even blood swallowed from your mouth or your nose.

– You may need additional testing, such as a colonoscopy, to locate the source of the bleeding.

Disclaimer:

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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