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Reasons and Treatment for Blood in Stool

It’s quite frightening, seeing blood in your stool. If you see bright red blood on the tissue or in the toilet, that is likely due to rectal bleeding. When there is bleeding higher up in the colon or digestive system, it makes the stool look very dark, described as a black and tarry appearance.

Any time you notice blood or think there might be blood in your stool, you should contact your doctor. This isn’t always a sign of cancer. It’s also important to know that not all bleeding in the intestinal tract is visible to the naked eye. You may have blood in your stool and not know it. So, if you have any signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer or you’re over age 50 talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy.

Causes of Blood in Stool

Bloody stool and bloody diarrhoea are both signs of colorectal cancer, and therefore they should never be ignored. The sooner you are diagnosed, the more effective treatment options will be.

There are other causes of blood in your stool, such as:

  • Haemorrhoids: Haemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles, are swollen blood vessels in the rectum. They often cause itching or burning sensation, and they may bleed. The blood seen with haemorrhoids is usually bright red.
  • Gastroenteritis: Gastroenteritis is an infection in the stomach or intestines caused by a virus or bacteria or food poisoning. It can lead to nausea and vomiting.
  • Diverticula: Diverticula are tiny pockets or bulges in the lining of the lower bowel. They can get infected and cause pain, and if they rupture, they can cause bleeding. In some cases, there may be significant bleeding even without pain.
  • Polyps in the bowel: Polyps are clumps of cells that can grow in the lining of the colon and rectum. Polyps don’t always cause problems, but they can develop into cancer if not removed. They may also bleed a little during bowel movements.
  • Anal fissure: These cracks are like tiny tears around the anal area that are quite painful. If they bleed, the blood is typically bright red. Pain and bleeding may occur during and after bowel movements.
  • Anal fistula: Anal fistula is a crack or crease that forms between the anus and the anal canal. They can be quite painful, and they might bleed.
  • Angiodysplasia: Angiodysplasia is rectal bleeding caused by abnormal blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract. It usually happens in elderly people, and it doesn’t normally cause pain.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: IBD can cause many symptoms including bloody diarrhoea.
  • Anal sex and STIs: Injury to the anus while having anal sex or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause bleeding in the rectum.
  • Anticoagulant medications: Anticoagulant drugs, also known as blood thinners, can sometimes cause internal bleeding, which may be seen in the stool. That blood would normally cause black and tarry stools.
  • False Alarm: Occasionally, pigments and colouring from the food we eat like beet root, Hawaiian Punch, red gelatin, and Kool-Aid, can turn your stool red. If you’ve ever had your kid go to town on the red popsicles, you probably have witnessed this benign yet disconcerting phenomenon

Don’t Wait. Get Screened.

If you have blood in your stool or notice blood in the toilet or on the toilet paper after a bowel movement, call your doctor right away. Do not wait to see if it goes away on its own. And If you’re over 50 we recommend scheduling a colonoscopy – whether you have risk factors or not. If you do have risk factors, such as a family history or certain inherited colon cancer syndromes, you may need your colonoscopy earlier. Ask your doctor when the right time is for you to have yours.

Conclusion

As it is now evident, the bloody stool can be caused by many things. Some of these causes are annoying yet harmless like haemorrhoids or anal fissures, other causes are a lot more concerning like cancer.

If you or a loved one complains of blood in the stool, you must see a physician. It’s scary to look down and see blood on the tissue or in the bowl, and it may be tempting to ignore it and hope it goes away. You shouldn’t ignore blood in your stool as colorectal cancer is a leading cause of death throughout the world.

Consult Dr. Gaurav Bansal, best laparoscopic surgeon in Gurgaon at the CK Birla Hospital for Women in case you complain of blood in stool. Book your appointment today.

 
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