Finding blood in stool can be scary! It could mean there is a major medical problem or it could be something a lot less serious. Bloody stools may indicate an issue in the gastrointestinal area. It can result from issues in the stomach, intestines, esophagus, rectum, or colon.
What Causes Blood in Stool?
Hemorrhoids, constipation, hard stools, or small tears in the anal lining are the most common reasons to find blood in the stool. More serious causes of blood in the stool can include:
- Colon cancer
- Anal cancer
- Diverticulitis or diverticular diseases (polyps in the intestines)
- Peptic ulcers
- Rectal cancer
- Severe diarrhea
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
Bloody stool can be dark or black, bright red. It can be so miniscule that it can’t be seen by the naked eye. Anytime you find blood in your stool, you should be seen by a medical professional to ensure that there are no severe medical problems. Be sure to act quickly to get any needed treatment and ensure that you are not at greater risk for other health problems. In other words, trust your gut! (No pun intended.)
What Will the Doctor Do?
Doctors use different tools to test for blood in stool, which can depend on the color of the blood in the stool and any other symptoms a person might be having. Some tests are as simple as turning in a stool sample, but in other cases, your doctor may want to perform an endoscopy or colonoscopy. An endoscopy consists of a tube being put down the throat to see if there are any issues in the gastrointestinal tract. In a colonoscopy a tube is put in the rectum to see what is in the lower intestines and colon area.
These routine tests are simple and are done through outpatient surgery. The results will give the doctor all of the information needed to understand why there is bleeding in the stool. A doctor can then guide a patient with next steps on how to move forward once results are received.
If you notice blood when you have a bowel movement, contact your primary care physician or medical provider and have them make needed referrals. Colon, rectum, and anal cancers can be prevented or at least managed if caught in time.
Worried about blood in your stool? Doctors are available around-the-clock at Hospitality Health ER in Longview. Walk in to our location here.