Blood In Stool - Is It Alarming?

Blood In Stool - Is It Alarming?

Seeing blood in stool can be a very bad as well as alarming experience. Regardless of how much you know about our health, blood in stool is something that can scare the daylights out of you. The appearance of blood in stool can be indication of whole range of possibilities that would race through your mind. What is causing blood in stool? What should you do about it?

Highlights

  • Blood in stool can point towards a range of health complications
  • The colour of stool defines the key factor behind diagnosis
  • Changing diet works often but anti-biotics and injections are also given as part of the treatment

In general terms, bloody stool refers to some sort of injury or illness in your digestive tract. But unfortunately, that doesn’t narrow down the things as digestive tract can refer to any location between your mouth and anus.

There is a great deal of emphasis laid on the colour of the stool as this will be a key factor behind the diagnosis. The colour could range from bright red, red to maroon and black. Here we list some of the common causes of bloody stool.

1. Anal Fissure

It occurs due to constipation or firm stool. Anal fissures are actually cracks in the skin which can be seen after stretching the anus skin. Often it heals on its own while petroleum jelly or some other cream can be applied to relieve from pain and discomfort.

2. Diverticular disease

Diverticular disease occurs when pouches or diverticula forms in the colon. Usually diverticula don’t cause any problem but can sometime bleed which can be treated with surgery.

3. Peptic Ulcers

Bloody stool can also cause by peptic ulcers which is open sore in the lining of stomach. Many peptic ulcers are caused by infections while long term use of anti-inflammatory drug can also trigger ulcers.

4. Haemorrhoids

When blood vessel swells in the region of the anus, it’s called haemorrhoids. A person suffering from haemorrhoids can experience itchiness, pain bloody stool. The risk factors include constipation, heavy lifting, diarrhoea, pregnancy and prolong sitting. Mostly, it can be cured non-surgically while surgical options are also available.

5. Angiodysplasia

It is commonly linked with end-stage kidney failure. In this condition, abnormal blood vessel leads to bleeding.

6. Ischemic Colitis

Nearly 90 percent of cases occur in the elderly. Besides bloody stool, other signs of ischemic colitis are abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and urgent need to defecate. Most of the cases of ischemic colitis occur for a short period of time while in severe cases, patient need to be hospitalized.

7. Polyps or cancer

This can be referred to projection in the intestinal tract. Polyps are benign growth that can eventually take form of cancer. Bleeding also occurs due to colorectal cancer and it’s not noticeable with the naked eye.

Treatment of blood in stool

Based on the diagnosis, physician can use various techniques to treat the bloody stool. Often endoscopy is used while other cases might demand angiography to inject medicine into the blood vessels. In mild cases, anti-biotics are used while treatment may also involve simple do it yourself things such as changing diet and sitting in warm baths to relieve fissures.

Although not all cases are serious, but there’s only one safe course of action if you spot bloody stool and i.e. see a doctor.

Sources

1. Understanding Minor Rectal Bleeding(n.d.). ASGE read more 
2. Bloody or tarry stools(2017, January 29). Medline Plus read more
3. Blood in stool (2017, November). healthdirect 
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