Last Updated October 15th, 2021
Blood in your stool- overview
Blood in your stool or rectal bleeding can be a result of several conditions. In most cases, it is not a cause for alarm. Nonetheless, the presence of darker or bright red blood in your stool should not be ignored. Rectal bleeding might be a result of various conditions, including colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and polyps, among others. At the same time, the color of your stool might change after consuming certain foods such as beets, cranberries, or tomatoes. Other foods like dark leafy vegetables and blueberries result in a black stool.
Most of the time rectal bleeding does not require any treatment as they resolve on their own, others require the assistance of a doctor. It is important also that you receive timely medical attention to determine the actual cause of blood in your stool. This is because it might be indicative of a more serious condition. For instance, it could be a sign of medical problems that affect your lower digestive tract, like diverticulitis, or hemorrhoids. In that case, it is important that you see a doctor so that he can conduct a thorough checkup of the symptoms, and make a proper diagnosis.
During the consultation, you will be subject to a complete physical examination. The doctor will want to know your medical history. Armed with such information, your doctor can then order further tests that will establish the actual possible cause of rectal bleeding.
What are the causes for blood in the stool ?
Blood in your stool is an indication of possible bleeding in a certain part of your digestive tract. At times, it becomes hard to detect blood in the stool using a fecal occult test. On other occasions, bleeding is evident in the toilet or on the tissue paper, after passing stools.
Some of the factors that might cause blood in your stool include:
These are the swollen blood vessels located in your anal region. The inflammation is a result of increased pressure. Such swelling can result in bleeding. However, hemorrhoids can only lead to a small amount of bleeding, say, a few drops. These act as evidence on the toilet paper after having a bowel movement.
Hemorrhoids are internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the anus. On the other hand, external hemorrhoids are located in the skin near your anus.
This refers to a small tear or cut on the tissue lining of your anus. Such tears are due to chronic constipation, resulting in the passage of hard and large stools. This is a painful experience that also adds pressure to the anal region, and hence the anal fissure.
Diverticula refers to small pouches that protrude from the wall of your colon. While diverticula may not always be problematic, they could get infected.
This refers to an open sore that is located in the lining of your duodenum. An infection with Helicobacter pylori is widely implicated with the causation of many peptic ulcers. Other causes include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs for a long time, or in higher doses. Examples of such drugs include ibuprofen and aspirin.
Certain infections such as those caused by E. coli can result in an inflamed colon. Some strains of E. coli may also cause bloody diarrhea. If not diagnosed in good time, they have the potential to cause kidney failure. Besides diarrhea, E. coli also causes nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting.
These are benign growth meaning that they can cause cancer. Polyps grow and bleed later on.
A tear of the varicose veins found in the esophagus may result in severe blood loss.
If you spot red blood while passing stool, most likely such blood is from your rectum or lower digestive tract. In contrast, black or darker blood implies that it emanated from your upper digestive tract. You can also establish the source of blood depending on whether it covers the stool or is mixed with it.
Other possible causes of blood in stool are:
How do we diagnose blood in your stool?
In case you have blood in your stool during a bowel movement, your doctor could order several tests to determine the actual diagnosis. These tests include:
- Stool culture: This entails taking a sample of your stool to the lab, to check for the presence of bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms
- Colonoscopy :The test involves inserting a small device that has a camera on its end to check your colon for possible abnormalities
- Blood test: Here, the doctor orders that a sample of your blood be taken to check for various possible issues
- Upper endoscopy: This test involves inserting a small device with a camera mounted on its end. It checks for abnormalities in your upper digestive tract.
How do we treat blood in the stool?
The best treatment for blood in the stool is to first determine the source and cause of your bleeding.
In case of hemorrhoids
A history of colorectal cancer increases the risk of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are also common among persons aged 45 and above. Hemorrhoids often resolve on their own. However, your doctor might recommend that you increase your intake of high-fiber foods. These will soften your stool, resulting in easier bowel movements. You should also increase your daily intake of water as this helps improve bowel movement.
In case of an anal fissure
Some are likely to resolve on their own. However, your doctor may recommend certain creams that have an analgesic effect, to reduce the pain. Increased intake of foods rich in fiber will also help improve bowel movement. Additionally, a sitz bath is useful in reducing the pain caused by anal fissures.
In case of diverticulosis
Blood in the stool, in the case of diverticulosis, can stop on its own. If it does not stop, your doctor may ask you to undergo a colonoscopy. This will assist your doctor to identify the location of the bleeding, and hopefully, resolve the problem.
In case of polyps
While most polyps tend to be harmless, a few of them may ultimately cause colon cancer. To treat polyps your doctor will perform an endoscopic procedure. Additionally, the doctor must ascertain that the polyps are not cancerous.
In case of E. coli
You need to drink plenty of fluids and take rest. This will protect you against dehydration. At the health care facility, you will receive IV fluids and supportive care in case your condition worsens.
In case of a peptic ulcer
Your doctor will most likely prescribe drugs that offer protection to your small intestine and the stomach lining. Such drugs also help neutralize the irritation brought by the stomach acids. If there is bleeding from the peptic ulcer, your doctor will most probably order an upper endoscopy procedure to treat such bleeding.
When should you see your doctor?
Blood in your poo is not always a source of concern. In case your health is great, and only a tiny bright red speck of blood was evident in your stool, there is a high likelihood that this will resolve on its own. In such a case, you may not require immediate medical attention. Such bleeding could be due to anal fissures or hemorrhoids. You may have also strained while having a bowel movement, and hence the bleeding.
However, in case you notice dark blood in your stool, in large quantities accompanied by other symptoms, it is highly advisable that you seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, if the bleeding has been ongoing for several days without any signs of subsiding, you need to see a doctor.
It is also important to pay attention to other symptoms, besides blood in your poop. Some of the symptoms that you need to look out for include:
- Whether the bleeding is accompanied by abdominal pain
- Feeling dizzy
- Shortness of breath
- In case you develop a fever
The above symptoms could be indicative of bleeding in your intestinal tract. In such a case, you must see your doctor immediately.
For patients who have already been diagnosed with a health condition, that might cause blood in the poop, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, it is important to consult the medical specialist.
Bloody mucus in your stool should also be a cause for concern, and you need to report this to your doctor.
If you need to consult a healthcare provider without delay, the quickest and most reliable option is to approach our team at goficure.
Once you contact us, our services to you are as follows:
- We arrange an appointment for you with the best specialist to treat your condition
- We monitor the next care steps and work with the doctor to fix your health issue
- If a surgery is needed, we offer complete end-to-end assistance that includes fixing a schedule for surgery, handling logistics of transportation, completing insurance formalities , and offering support during and after surgery till recovery.
- Assistance with prevention strategies, overall lifestyle and diet modification for better health
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