Bloody Stool Causes Symptoms and Treatment
Let's face it, almost everyone feels embarrassed to talk about what goes down in the bathroom? So, even if you notice blood in the stool, you might just ignore it. Though, finding blood in stool (also referred to as Rectal Bleeding) may not be a serious issue, but at times, it is a sign that you might be suffering from a severe health problem. So, in case you discover such a problem make sure to talk about it to some healthcare professional.
But before you head to a doctor, it is better to have an idea of what blood in the stool means. Also, you must be aware of causes of bleeding in stool, symptoms, and treatment.
What Does Blood in Stool Means?
Blood in stool is also termed as Rectal bleeding (a medical condition called hematochezia). In this condition, blood passes (from the rectum) in the stool. Or else, red blood may be coming from the intestinal tract (i.e. from the stomach or small intestine). Remember, in some cases, rectal bleeding is moderate and stop on its own, without the need of getting hospitalized.
Causes of Bloody Stool
There are several causes because of which you may find red blood in the stool. While a red blood spot might be visible on toilet tissue, but at times bleeding cannot be detected by the human eye. And, the only fecal occult test can help you know about the hidden blood in the stool. So, let’s have a quick look at the most common causes of bloody stool:
1. Anal fissure – Small cracks or tears in the anal canal leads to pain and bleeding when you’ve bowel movements. This isn’t a severe condition and in most cases heals within a period of two to four weeks, without undergoing a treatment.
2. Hemorrhoids – Often veins in the lower rectum swells causing itching, pain, and bleeding. The condition can be either internal or external. While internal hemorrhoid is usually not a serious condition, but external hemorrhoids can often be troublesome.
3. Diverticular – Diverticular disease occurs when weak spots develop into small pouches – called as diverticula – on the wall of your large intestine. This disease doesn’t cause problems, but you may experience abdominal pain and bleeding.
4. Polyps or cancer – Polyps are cells that grow in the lining of the colon or rectum, and can become cancerous. A polyp can also cause bleeding that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
5. Colitis – A mild or severe pain in your stomach or discomfort that appears abruptly or reoccur after a long period are signs of colitis. It’s a disease that pertains to inflammation of the colon.
6. Blood vessel problems – This is a common problem that occurs as you age. Simply put, when getting older, some issues tend to appear in the blood vessels of your large intestine, resulting in bleeding. Though it is not something normal that happens as part of aging, but you may experience such a condition later in life.
Symptoms of Bloody Stool
Rectal bleeding may not be dangerous and it might stop after a certain period. In fact, such a problem occurs due to straining during bowel movements, making it a lesser cause of worry. But that does not mean that you should ignore seeing blood spots in the stool. There are a few symptoms that you must know about, so as to know the seriousness of finding blood in the stool. For instance, seeing blood in stool accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, fatigue, etc. are a few signs of life-threatening rectal bleeding that needs immediate medical treatment. Also, you must consult a doctor in case of massive bleeding.
Treatment for Bloody Stool
Most of the conditions or diseases that cause blood to pass out in stool can be treated. However, which treatment plan will best suit you will depend on the problem that results in rectal bleeding. But first of all, you must fix an appointment with a physician. During your visit to the clinic, you will be asked a few questions regarding your condition and will be made to undergo some physical examination. Apparently, a blood test will be conducted to measure the amount of bleeding and how persistent it is. And, accordingly, you will be advised medication or treatment.
1. Medication – You may be prescribed some medicines to control bleeding in the intestinal tract, including some rectal ointment or suppository. But do not take any medicines without a prescription.
2. Endoscopy – This is the best treatment method that your doctor will suggest in case your upper digestive tract bleeds. In that case, the doctor will make use of an endoscope to inject chemicals into the problem area that causes bleeding. Or else, your health care professional may use the endoscope to cauterize the bleeding area along with its surrounding tissue.
3. Surgery – In case endoscopy does not work in treating the condition that causing rectal bleeding, then you might be advised to undergo surgery.
In case, you just saw a few blood spots on the toilet tissue and aren’t experiencing any other problem, then following a few tips can help prevent your condition from getting worse. Here are a few home care tips that may prove useful in curing or preventing rectal bleeding:
1. Including a high-fiber diet improves bowel function, thereby avoiding the risk of rectal bleeding.
2. Intake of fluids in-adequate amount (around 8 – 10 glasses of water) is another great way to avoid blood in the stool.
3. Make sure to keep the skin around the anus clean by taking a bath daily. And, in case you experience itching or pain during bowel movements, a warm water bath will most likely help you find relief from such symptoms.
Bloody stool can develop several health problems, but what you might not know is that it can even cause hair loss or baldness. To avoid such problems from becoming severe or permanent, it is better that you consult a physician as soon as possible. However, be wary of choosing a certified and experienced health care professional, ideally one with a good track record of treating patients suffering from diseases or conditions that result in rectal bleeding.
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