Stool Sample Mambo...

Updated on June 18, 2012
Y.C. asks from Frederick, MD
5 answers

My 20-month old has had diarrhea for about 3 weeks now. It doesn't seem to be bothering him too much - he's not dehydrated, he isn't lethargic...but I know this isn't easy on him. 10 days ago I took him to the pediatrician, but she took the lazy clinician's way out and concluded that it was just a result of the week-long road trip we had just come back from, and that within a few days of regular eating, he would be back to normal.

Yeah, not so much. Last week he was out of daycare for 2 days because of this, and since I've just missed three consecutive weeks of work (see previous post for details), I am wary of missing any more time. Plus my husband is going out of town for the next two weeks (work-related) starting I won't have any backup.

With all this in mind, last night I thought that sending in a stool sample for a culture would be a good idea...I mean, he could have some sort of parasite like giardia, or who knows, right? Last night dh and I collected a high quality, freshly-extruded sample amidst much giggling and comments about how this was our little guy's first Father's Day present. But it was an uncontaminated sample - plastic spoon, clean tupperware, sealed and labeled and refrigerated overnight. I've got it in my purse right now.

But when I called the pediatrician, they said they couldn't use it...they said that they couldn't order labs based on the previous visit, even though diarrhea was one of the complaints. They said our collection method wasn't adequate, and that in order to run any samples, we would have to go in for a repeat visit, then we would have to start a 'stool series', i.e. collecting 2-3 days worth of samples, in separate containers and labeled and sent off together in a matched set. I'm going to just go ahead and GUESS that my son's daycare isn't going to be willing to participate in that collection effort. So basically, this would mean that I'd have to stay home practically all week in order to do this. NOT POSSIBLE!!!

I know enough about modern healthcare to read between those lines as follows: "We are not willing to deal with your kid's poop unless we can bill the absolute maximum for it. We will extract another co-pay from you, then order the top-level set of lab tests for which we get the maximum kickback. We COULD send this sample off for you, and attach the order for it to the doctor visit that happened a few days back, but we won't, because as a rule all our clients are morons, and this is about running our business, not helping you out."

Has anyone else experienced this? Do I have any alternatives to telling my boss that I will be at home collecting toddler poop all week? Aaaaaargggghhhh!

What can I do next?

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answers from Redding on

Sometimes they get diarrhea when they teethe.

Have you tried changing his diet up a bit, adding bananas, yogurt and other things known to firm up a loose bowel?

That stool sample route sounds pretty lame, I cant believe they hafta make that so difficult! Hell, I just got a thing in the mail the other day requesting stool samples for me and hub as part of our HMO's bidding. They send you the container, you get some poop on it, and send it back through the mail. Easy Peasy.

You might want to get a bit more aggresive with your pediatrician and tell her you want him/her to convince you why she doesnt think 3 wks of diarrhea is not concerning to her/him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm sorry but I really laughed at your title and description of your recent "Father's Day Gift" collection!!!

I'm going to guess that clean Tupperware isn't "sterile" Tupperware.
I'm sorry, but I don't think a pediatrician's office is going to run tests that the parents decide need to be done. (Even if they do.)
They want another co-pay, etc. You're right. It's MESSED up!

Let's pray for a quick elimination! (Like tonight!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Medical care can be frustrating. I imagine even if they were willing to do the testing, your sample would not be deemed "sterile" and need to be retaken. Have you considered taking him to someone else for a second opinion?

We went through something similar with our daughter around one years old. Constant diarrhea. She seemed ok, but like you said, it just can't be easy on them. Our doctor declined any stool sampling as well. I was in the process of weaning and at first it was blamed on a possible milk allergy, so we were told to try soy, then goat milk. Nothing seemed to work, so I kept breastfeeding and using breast milk. For a while that worked and then the diarrhea came back. So the pediatrician asked up to keep a detailed food diary. I still didn't see any connections. Then my husbands mother made the comment that this was reminding her of the way my hubby reacted to raisins as a baby. More than five raisins and he had diarrhea. So I went back through and read the ingredients. Many of the juices and foods our daughter was eating had grape juice. When we cut that out the problems disappeared. So I guess my suggestion is to start a food diary and see if you can find anything that way.



answers from Missoula on

I know when I had to collect stool samples for my DD, the poo had to go into a special liquid to preserve whatever was in it... It was also considered contaminated if I had to scoop it out of her diaper. (The poo can't mix with the stuff in the diaper...)

They had me line her diaper with plastic-wrap, and scoop from that into the special container with the preservative fluid. It had to be filled to a certain point, but not beyond another certain point.

It was quite the pain in the butt, only to find out that my DD was just suffering from teething diarrhea and a slight food allergy. lol.



answers from Madison on

Have her seen by a naturopathic doctor. Her diarrhea could be from a food allergy or food intolerance, which they can test for. It's relatively painless and doesn't take hardly any time at all--just a blood collection, and then they run an ELISA or RAT test. They can also do a stool sample--and it's nowhere near as much of a pain in the butt as allopathic doctors make it. Honestly, I don't know why they make it so hard for parents to find out what the cause is. Probably because they'd rather we don't find what's causing the problem because then we're always sick and a lifelong "patient."

Anyway, I digress. Find a nice naturopathic doctor to help you. I've never been happier than I was when I went over to alternative healthcare four years ago. I now have a medical provider for my insurance company who "says" she supports my choices but still wants to do things that I've told her are unacceptable due to genetic health issues.

Sigh. When it comes right down to it, allopathic doctors just don't care. It really feels as if it's all about the money, doesn't it? While we suffer.

Take the reins back into your own hands and check out alternative healthcare. Yes, you have to pay for it yourself. If you have a Flex Plan, though, you should be able to get your money back.

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