Anyone can suffer from blood in their stool. It may be noticed in the toilet bowl or when wiping after a bowel movement. If you have this symptom, it is important that you contact a medical professional to investigate the cause.
Blood in the stool can have a variety of causes. Anal fissures or hemorrhoids are one; some bowel infections which can cause bloody diarrhea are another. But it may also be a sign of more serious illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease, or in the worst case, cancer.
There are also some medications that can cause blood in the stool, mainly medications containing acetylsalicylic acid or similar other substances.
If there is a problem in the lower gastrointestinal tract, there will often be some fresh blood coming from the rectum. If the bleeding is located in the small intestine or early portion of the colon, the blood is mixed with the stool. Black stools can be the sign of bleeding from the stomach. If you have minor bleeding, sometimes it can’t be seen with the naked eye, but small amounts of blood can be detected during stool analysis. Blood in the stool does not necessarily cause pain anywhere in the body.
Prevention and protection
Lifestyle changes can decrease the incidence of blood in stool.
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet by adding vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, and beans.
- Manage your weight with exercise and diet to encourage regular bowel movements.
- Drink ample fluids to ward off constipation.
- Take warm baths, especially if you have rectal bleeding after bowel movements.
The treatment of blood in the stool depends on its cause. If you suffer from hemorrhoids or anal fissures, it may sometimes be treated with non-prescription medications which primarily relieve symptoms and prevent new problems. However, if the symptoms don’t pass, you have to be examined by a doctor. In case of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you may be prescribed medication and / or surgery. If it is caused by cancer, treatment can consist of surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
When to consult a doctor
If you find blood in your stools, you should always seek medical help to find the cause. Since the causes may be multiple, you must be prepared for a variety of tests and investigations to be done. You should also be aware that your stools may be reddish if you have eaten blueberries or beets.
How APPOTEK can help
With APPOTEK you can get advice directly via video calls with one of our doctors. However, in case of blood in the stool, a physical examination must be performed.