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What does E. coli in the stool indicate?

Q: I got a stool culture test done. The report shows I have E. coli in my stool. I have constipation and sometimes feel heaviness in my stomach and chest after meals. Is this due to the presence of E. coli in my stool?

A:E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the gut, present in large numbers in stools and usually does not cause any harm. However, there are some varieties of E. coli (like Enteropathogenic E. coli – EPEC, Enterotoxigenic E. coli – ETEC, Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli – EHEC, Enteroinvasive E. coli – EIEC and Enteroadherent E. coli - EAEC) that can cause diarrhoea. Since you do not have diarrhoea, you most likely have the normal variety of E. coli and you do not have to worry about it.

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