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Fecal Fat Stool Test, Qualitative

A Fecal Fat Stool Test, Qualitative is useful in determining the presence or absence of excess fat in the stool. 

Sample Report

Test Code: 001677

Also Known As: Fatty Acid, Stool; Neutral Fat, Stool; Qualitative Fat

Methodology: Microscopic examination following staining with Oil Red O

Preparation: You must take your lab order to the lab to obtain a proper specimen container before collection. No special preparation required. Avoid the use castor oil, mineral oil, suppositories or barium prior to collection of specimen. Fat substitutes such as Olestra may cause interference and should be avoided.

Test Results: 2-6 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.


Fecal fat testing may be ordered if one's physician believes that the digestive system isn't working accurately.  Generally, the absorption of fat is contingent on an assortment of elements, such as:

  • bile production in liver or gallbladder
  • production of enzymes in the pancreas
  • functioning of the intestines

One might consider ordering this test if the following symptoms persist:

  • frequent loose stools
  • indigestion
  • gas
  • cramps
  • foul-smelling, fatty stools
  • unexplained weight loss

When these organs are functioning poorly, one's body may not be capable of absorbing the right amount of fat that the body needs to stay healthy.  

If the absorption of fat has reduced, this could be a sign of several different disorders:

  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer


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