Overview of bloody stools
Seeing blood in the toilet, on the outside of your stool, or with wiping after a bowel movement is common. Fortunately, most of the causes of such rectal bleeding are not life-threatening; common causes include hemorrhoids and anal fissures. However, the only way to be certain of the cause is to be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
- Rectal bleeding is the passage of blood through the anus. The bleeding may result in bright red blood in the stool as well as maroon colored or black stool. The bleeding also may be occult (not visible with the human eye).
- The common causes of rectal bleeding from the colon include anal fissure, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, colon cancer and polyps, colonic polyp removal, angiodysplasias, colitis, proctitis, and Meckel's diverticula.
- Rectal bleeding also may be seen with bleeding that is coming from higher in the intestinal tract, from the stomach, duodenum, small intestine, or Meckel's diverticulum.
- Rectal bleeding may not be painful; however, other symptoms that may accompany rectal bleeding are diarrhea, and abdominal cramps due to the irritation caused by the blood in the stool.
- Rectal bleeding is commonly evaluated and treated by gastroenterologists and colorectal or general surgeons.
- The origin of rectal bleeding is determined by history and physical examination, anoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, radionuclide scans, visceral angiograms, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or capsule endoscopy of the small intestine, and blood tests.
- Rectal bleeding is managed first by correcting any low blood volume and anemia if present with blood transfusions and then, determining the site and cause of the bleeding, stopping the bleeding, and preventing future rebleeding.
- Rectal bleeding can be prevented if the cause of the bleeding can be found and definitively treated, for example, by removing the bleeding polyp or tumor. In addition, it may be appropriate to search for additional abnormalities, for example, polyps or angiodysplasias that have not yet bled but may do so in the future. This may require either gastrointestinal endoscopy or surgery.
Home Remedies for bloody stools :
If minimal rectal bleeding, such as blood-streaked toilet tissue, is the source of the problem, it may be due to hemorrhoids or a rectal fissure. Home therapy can be attempted. A physician should promptly evaluate and treat all other causes of rectal bleeding.
Self-care of rectal bleeding may include various rectal ointments and suppositories. People can buy these over-the-counter items without a prescription. If the person's symptoms do not improve within one week of treatment, or he or she is older than 40 years of age, a doctor should be seen for further evaluation.
Simple home care of rectal bleeding includes the following:
- Drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day.
- Bathe or shower daily to cleanse the skin around the anus.
- Decrease straining with bowel movements.
- Increase fiber in the diet with supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber, or foods such as prunes.
- Avoid sitting on the toilet too long.
- Apply ice packs to the affected area to decrease pain.
- Take a sitz bath. This is a warm water bath with water just deep enough to cover the hips and buttocks, and can help relieve some symptoms of itching, pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids.
- Avoid drinking alcohol, as that contributes to dehydration, which is one cause of constipation.
When to see doctor for bloody stools :
If you have any blood in your stool, make sure you get it checked out by a doctor.
As well as blood in your stool, you might have other symptoms that could indicate something more serious is going on.
If you have blood in your stools and you feel faint, dizzy or light-headed, this may be an emergency. Go to the nearest emergency department as soon as possible or call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.
If you are losing weight and have blood in your stools, this suggests an illness that needs treatment. See your doctor as soon as possible.
If you received some trauma to the area, you might have an injury or a foreign object in the area. Seek an examination from your doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment for the bloody stools
Endoscopy is the primary diagnostic and therapeutic procedure for most causes of GI bleeding. Active bleeding from the upper GI tract can often be controlled by injecting chemicals directly into a bleeding site with a needle introduced through the endoscope. A physician can also cauterize, or heat treat, a bleeding site and surrounding tissue with a heater probe or electrocoagulation device passed through the endoscope. Laser therapy is useful in certain specialized situations.
Once bleeding is controlled, medication is often prescribed to prevent recurrence of bleeding. Medication is useful primarily for H. pylori, esophagitis, ulcers, infections and irritable bowel disease. Medical treatment of ulcers, including the elimination of H. pylori, to ensure healing and maintenance therapy to prevent ulcer recurrence can also lessen the chance of recurrent bleeding. Removal of polyps with an endoscope can control bleeding from colon polyps. Removal of hemorrhoids by banding or various heat or electrical devices is effective in patients who suffer hemorrhoidal bleeding on a recurrent basis. Endoscopic injection or cautery can be used to treat bleeding sites throughout the lower intestinal tract. Endoscopic techniques do not always control bleeding. Sometimes angiography may be used. However, surgery is often needed to control active, severe or recurrent bleeding when endoscopy is not successful.
How do you treat blood in your stool ?
Mild rectal bleeding from anal fissures and hemorrhoids usually can be treated with local measures such as sitz baths, hemorrhoidal creams, and stool softeners. If these measures fail, several nonsurgical and surgical treatments are available.
Is bright red blood in stool serious ?
Bright red blood in the stool typically indicates that there is bleeding in the rectum or colon, which may be a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Rectal bleeding can also be caused by hemorrhoids.
What foods can cause blood in stool ?
Certain foods may cause your stools to look red. These include cranberries, tomatoes, beets, or food that is dyed red. Other foods may cause your stools to look black. These include blueberries, dark leafy vegetables, or black licorice.
What does bright red blood indicate ?
The color of the blood can indicate where the bleeding is coming from: Bright red blood usually means bleeding low in the colon or rectum. Dark red or maroon blood usually indicates bleeding higher in the colon or the small bowel. Melena usually means bleeding in the stomach, such as bleeding from ulcers.
Is bright red blood healthy ?
Blood in the human body is red regardless of how oxygen-rich it is, but the shade of red may vary. The level or amount of oxygen in the blood determines the hue of red. As blood leaves the heart and is oxygen-rich, it is bright red. When the blood returns to the heart, it has less oxygen.