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Alternative Names Return to topQuantitative stool fat determination; Fat absorption
Definition Return to top
The fecal fat test measures the amount of fat in the stool, and the percentage of dietary fat that is not taken in by the body.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
Adults and children:
There are many ways to collect the samples. You can catch the stool on plastic wrap that is loosely placed over the toilet bowl and held in place by the toilet seat. Then put the sample in a clean container. One test kit supplies a special toilet tissue that you use to collect the sample, then put the sample in a clean container.
Infants and young children:
For children wearing diapers, you can line the diaper with plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap is positioned properly, you can prevent mixing of urine and stool. Preventing such mixing can give a better sample.
Collect all stool excreted over a period of 24-hours (or sometimes 3 days) in special containers, label the containers with name, time, and date, and send them to the laboratory.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Consume a normal diet containing about 100 grams of fat per day for 3 days before starting the test. The health care provider may advise you to discontinue use of substances that can affect test results, for example, drugs or food additives.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
The test involves only normal defecation, and there is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This test is used to evaluate fat absorption as an indication of how the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines are working.
Fat malabsorption can cause a change in your stools called steatorrhea. Normal fat absorption requires bile from the gallbladder (or liver if the gallbladder has been removed), enzymes from the pancreas, and normal intestines.
Normal Results Return to top
Less than 7 grams of fat per 24 hours.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Decreased fat absorption may result from:
Risks Return to top
There are no risks.
Considerations Return to top
Factors that interfere with the test are: