Stool antigen tests, simply put, are stool samples that are taken to test various infections or diseases. Typically, doctors suggest this test as it is simple and more importantly, non-invasive.
Stool antigen tests are usually administered to detect stomach ulcers; they are administered to determine whether or not the ulcers were caused because of helicobacter pylori bacterial infections.
In fact among the various tests available for diagnosis of these H. pylori bacteria, the stool antigen test is possibly the most accurate.
For the uninitiated, helicobacter pylori are found in the stomach lining and duodenum. Quite often this infection remains dormant, but when aggravated it causes inflammation and at times leads to stomach ulcers or even stomach cancer.
Research has shown that stool antigen test for h. pylori when tested among children and teenagers has an accuracy of over 90 percent, but its accuracy is yet to be established when testing stools of infants and to a certain extent toddlers.
However, by and large, when a doctor is suspecting an h. pylori infection, he will opt for a stool antigen test to confirm it.
The Stool antigen test aims to check if substances or particles that can help the immune system fight the h. pylori bacteria are present in the stool (feces). This test is conducted both, when a doctor needs to diagnose the presence of h. pylori bacteria as well as to find out if the treatment for the bacterial infection has taken effect.
As mentioned above, a stool antigen test can help determine if there are any gastrointestinal infections or inflammations. It also helps determine if there is a stomach infection or ulcer.
Also, a doctor requests for a stool antigen test when he suspects Giardia. Giardia is a disease caused by an infection of the small intestines. This infection is caused by an organism called Giardia lamblia, hence the name of the disease.
A person can be infected with this disease by drinking water from any water body where animals like beavers, sheep or muskrats have caused contamination. Also, this disease is contagious and spreads by person-to-person contact.
Symptoms of this disease are much like stomach ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, bloating, nausea, sometimes headache or even mild fever may occur. This disease takes a cycle of about one to two weeks to cure, from the time the disease is diagnosed to the time treatment is administered.
Therefore, it is critical to have this diagnosed at the earliest. As mentioned above, stool tests are most preferred when checking for Giardia.
In short, a stool antigen test comes highly recommended when dealing with an infection or disease related to the stomach, intestines and duodenum