image of the ova parasite stool test step by step process

Ova Parasite Stool (Poop) Test

Parasite stool tests can reliably and accurately find intestinal parasite infections by looking for parasites, or parasite eggs (called ova).

Out of all the parasite tests available, the parasite poop test is the most useful, accurate, and convenient.

Almost all parasite infections by patients in the 1st world are detectable in stool. So this test should be first in the parasite infection diagnosis tool kit.

What types of parasites can be detected by the ova stool test?

Parasites range in size from 6 feet long, down to a few inches, down to those only visible by a microscope.

So even though most people think of parasites as just “worms” – there are actually many species of microscopic parasites that are only detectable through a microscope…and in my opinion, it’s the microscopic ones that cause the most severe health problems.

Here’s the full list of parasites that could be detected by a stool test:

  • Protozoa
    • Entamoeba histolytica
    • Cryptosporidium
    • Giardia lamblia
    • Blastocystis hominis
  • Helminths (worms)
    • Roundworms
      • Ascaris lumbricoides
      • Hookworms
      • Human whipworm
    • Flukes
      • Chinese liver fluke
      • Human liver fluke
      • blood fluke
    • Tapeworms
      • pork tapeworm
      • fish tapeworm

BUT – keep in mind as you shop for your home parasite ova stool test kit…most tests will only look for the 3-5 most common parasites in your region. Always ask for the list of parasites your test can actually find.

Parasites today travel outside their natural borders. In 2018 people are eating sushi caught by Chinese fishermen – on a plate with veggies grown in Mexico – prepared by immigrants who may have grown up in unsanitary, parasite-infested living conditions. My father is an immigrant so I know how unsanitary it can be in 3rd world countries.

With global trade and travel, we really need to test for global parasites…not just the parasites native to our home country. Otherwise, we can miss parasites that are causing our health problems.

What types of parasites can’t be detected by the ova stool test?

The ova stool test can’t reliably find the pinworm parasite. It also can’t detect blood, ocular, skin, or brain parasite infections.

While the pinworm is common, blood parasites are very rare in the first world.

Why are ova parasites stool tests useful?

Ova stool tests for parasites can accurately diagnose the exact parasite that has infected your intestines.

Once a parasite infection is accurately diagnosed, then the precise medication that will defeat that parasite can be taken.

Different parasites require different medications, cleanses, or supplement treatments. So accurate diagnosis is important for successful eradication of a parasite infection.

How does the stool parasite test work?

image of the ova parasite stool test step by step process

There are 4 steps to the ova stool parasite test:

1. Collect stool

The first step is to collect a sample. This will typically involve defecating somewhere where the stool (poop) can then be scooped into a sample container – but without contamination.

Since parasites and their ova (eggs) aren’t present in your stool 100% of the time, samples from 4-8 different days should be collected. This will reduce the chance of a test looking parasite-free when it really is parasite-infested.

Typically the sample is also put into preservation fluid for easy shipping and killing of the parasite and fecal contents.

2. Separate fecal matter from parasites and parasite eggs

At this point, the fecal matter needs to be separated from the parasites and parasite eggs (ova). This is done using centrifuges…often with multiple cycles to increase the concentration of all the parasites and ova.

3. Add contrast dye and prepare wet mount

After the sample is extracted from the centrifuges, a high-contrast dye is applied to make it easier to see the parasites and their eggs.

4. Analyze the Sample Under a Microscope

A (hopefully) well-trained and experienced human will now look at the dyed and prepared microscope slide.

Depending on the quality of the dye, and more importantly, how experienced your technician is, they will look for large parasites, microscopic parasites, and parasite eggs.

The technician could be anyone from a 22-year-old biology student who couldn’t find another job…all the way up to someone with a Ph.D. in parasitology, who spent decades on multiple continents passionately discovering, studying and fighting human parasite infestation.

Some labs hire only the most experienced parasitologists [like ours] – while others try and find the cheapest lab techs. And if you want fewer false negatives and false positives, I think you want the labs with experienced lab techs.

Why are some parasite stool tests more accurate than others?

  1. How experienced are the parasite test technicians? – does your lab tech have a PhD in parasitology and worked on 4 different continents fighting human parasite infestation? Or is he an inexperienced 22-year-old with a bachelor’s degree? Experience really matters in not missing less common parasites that may be infecting your intestines.
  2. How many parasites are detectable with the test? – many labs offer stool tests that only find 3-5 parasite species. But because of global food trade and immigration, at least 12 parasites are likely found in people’s stools. So beware of how many parasites the stool test can find.
  3. Contrast dye quality – when you look at parasite eggs under a microscope, they can be translucent. So, you have to use contrast dye to make them easier to see. And it surprised me that some companies use the cheapest dye – and thus are more likely to miss some parasites. As with most things, you get the accuracy you pay for.
  4. Preservation fluid quality – if you use the wrong preservation formula, you can damage evidence of a parasite’s eggs…making it harder to know if you have an intestinal infection. Some companies cheap out and decrease the accuracy of their test results.
  5. Single or multiple poop samples – on a single day, there is a chance no eggs or parasites will be present in your stool. But if you take at least 4 days of samples, the odds are much higher that a parasite will be present – reducing false negatives with multiple samples.

What Home Parasite Stool Test Is Highly Accurate?

Our gut parasite test follows all of the above principles to the letter. All samples are analyzed by 1 of our 2 parasitologists on staff. In fact, recently clients have shipped in samples with:

  • Tapeworm (taenia saginata)
  • Larval nematodes
  • Blastocystis hominis
  • Entamoeba hartmanni
  • Blastocystis hominis
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Dientamoeba fragilis

And more parasites than we’re even listing here!

You should click here to learn more about our 31 gut parasites test.

Happy parasite hunting,
Evan Jerkunica

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