Bowel Movement Culture

ExitCare ImageA bowel movement culture checks your poop (bowel movement) for illnesses. The doctor will give you all the supplies you need. For each sample you collect, you may get:

  • A small container. You may be given different colored containers. Follow the instructions for each container you are given.

  • Gloves that can be thrown away.

  • A plastic bag.

Ask the doctor if you have questions.


  • Cover the toilet bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Tape the wrap or bag to the bowl of the toilet (not the seat). Do not stretch the plastic tight across the bowl. Leave room for the poop to fall. You can also use a plastic carton to catch your poop. Wash and dry any cartons. Keep these in the bathroom.

  • Try not to mix pee (urine) with your poop. Pee before pooping.

  • Do not mix toilet paper or water with your sample.

  • Women on their period should wait 3 days after their period has ended before collecting a sample.


  • Wash your hands.

  • Put on gloves.

  • Do not pour out the fluid that is in the tube. This fluid will preserve your sample.

  • Use the small shovel built into the top of the tube to put small scoops of your poop into the tube. Choose the parts of your poop which are bloody, slimy, or watery. Fill the tube up to the red line on the tube label. If your poop is hard, choose samples from each end and the middle.

  • Stir the poop in the tube with the small shovel. Close the top on the tube tightly. Shake the tube until the poop is well mixed.

  • On the label, write:

  • The date and time you collected the sample.

  • Your initials.

  • Put the tube in the plastic bag that was given to you.

  • If your doctor wants you to collect more than 1 sample, collect them at different times you poop.

Follow these instructions each time you collect a sample.


  • Store your sample(s) using the directions on each test container you were given. Some samples should be kept at room temperature. Others need to be refrigerated right away.

  • You may need to return the sample within 24 hours. Check the directions or call the clinic if you are not sure.

  • Flush the rest of your poop down the toilet (but not the plastic wrap). Throw away the gloves. Throw away the carton, if you used one.

  • Wash your hands.