Blood in Stool
Observing blood in stool all of a sudden could be a scary sight.
Thus, you must immediately inform your doctor about it. You will be asked to undergo a stool test and various other diagnostic procedures to detect the exact reason behind it. We shall provide you the details in the upcoming segments of this article.
The color of your stool might change to red or maroon, a condition medically described as hematochezia. Sometimes, you may also observe blood clots in your stool.
Associated symptoms include:
Causes of Blood in Stool
Red colored stool is a result of inflammation or infection of thelower gastrointestinal tract or it could also arise from bleeding inside the stomach.
The reasons could be:
The tissue lining of the anus (lower rectum) tears due to pressure on the sphincter muscles of the anus, constipation, etc. and this leads to bleeding.
It’s a disorder in which the lower part of the intestine gets damaged by being cut off from the blood supply. This causes internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which comes out through the anus.
The blood vessels of the anus become swollen. It’s more common during pregnancy and post childbirth. Hemorrhoids cause pain and itching in the rectum and blood in stools is one of the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Diverticulitis is a condition wherein pouches develop from the inner lining of the intestine (diverticulosis). Blood is observed in stool when these protruding sacs become inflamed.
Colon Cancer: cancerous polyps grow in the colon (large intestine) or it might also develop in the rectum
Colitis: Inflammatory bowel disease or infection of the colon, ulcerative colitis are some conditions wherein blood in stool is observed
Peptic Ulcers: The lining of the stomach is often invaded by bacteria like Helicobacter pylori due to overdose of anti-inflammatory drugs. This leads to ulcers in the stomach.
Diagnosis of Blood in Stool
Your doctor will ask you several questions about your health and lifestyle and also about medical history. The following tests are performed by doctors to detect the exact reason.
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD): In this process a flexible endoscope with a small camera at its end is inserted through the mouth to examine the source of bleeding which could be the stomach, small intestine or the lining of the esophagus. Enteroscopy is the term for detecting disorders in the small intestine.
Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is a similar procedure like EGD, but the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum to detect underlying disorders of the colon or the large intestine and also in the rectum
Stool Culture: The specimen of the stool is collected from the patient for the purpose of culturing. The test detects organisms that might be responsible for inflaming the gastrointestinal tract.
Barium X-ray: Your doctor advices you to swallow barium or he might insert through the rectum. This makes the digestive tract clearly visible on being X-rayed and thus any kind of inflammation can be detected.
Radionuclide scanning: The use of radioactive substances inside the vein to detect the source of bleeding. The digestive tract is scanned with a camera to find out the bleeding point.
Laparotomy: It’s a complete surgical procedure done when other diagnostic tests fail. The abdomen is openly operated to detect the disorder.
Angiography: A dye is inserted into the vein in order to make the blood vessels easily visible to the X-ray. If there’s bleeding inside the vein, the dye will leak out from that site.
When to see a doctor?
It’s always advised to see your doctor whenever you notice even a drop of blood in your stool or in tissue paper. If you have already been diagnosed with ulcer, hemorrhoids or colon cancer, then you must consult your doctor regarding the bleeding and get a proper treatment done. In any case, you should not neglect it.
Treatments for Stool in Blood
The treatment is absolutely dependent on the severity of the symptoms and the cause behind the abnormality. Some common treatments doctors usually suggest are:
- Anti-acid medications to heal the ulcers
- Antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs for treating inflammatory bowel disease and other types of colon infections
- A radiation therapy may be recommended to remove cancerous polyps
- Surgery is an option to treat anal fissures and vein abnormalities.
- A treatment known as “Interventional radiography embolization” is performed to block bleeding veins
- Blood transfusion may be required if too much blood has passed out from the body
Therefore, we suggest you to get yourself diagnosed properly and get the correct treatment to heal your body quickly.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 27, 2015