Diagnosis of Diarrhea

To diagnose the underlying cause for diarrhea, the physician often takes a medical history, and performs a physical examination and diagnostic tests. Tests that may be used include the following:

  • Blood tests (used to rule out certain diseases)
  • Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy (These tests involve using a flexible tube with a light and a camera attached to view the inside of the colon.)
  • Imaging tests (e.g., barium enema, CT scan, ultrasound)
  • Stool culture (used to diagnose viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections)

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015