Looking down into a toilet and seeing blood can be alarming. Your mind might go to many places as alarm bells ring that something is wrong. This is often rectal bleeding. A symptom of many different medical conditions, bleeding can vary from being mild to being a sign of a serious condition. If you’re experiencing bleeding in stool, you might see blood in a few different ways — on your toilet paper as you wipe, in the water of the toilet bowl or in your poop. It can be different colors, ranging from bright red to a dark maroon to black.
The color of blood you see can actually indicate where the bleeding might be coming from.
Sometimes, rectal bleeding isn’t visible to the naked eye and can only be seen through a microscope. This type of bleeding is usually found during a lab test of a stool sample.
In some cases, rectal bleeding can be a minor symptom of a condition that can be easily treated. Hemorrhoids, for example, can cause you to experience rectal bleeding. This usually doesn’t last long and hemorrhoids are often easy to treat. However, rectal bleeding can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition
You might see or experience rectal bleeding in a few different ways, including:
Rectal bleeding can be bright red or darker in color. You can also have rectal bleeding without being able to see it. This can happen when you have very small amounts of blood in your stool — called occult bleeding.
When you have blood in your stool it can look a few different ways. You may have bright red streaks of blood on your poop or you could see blood mixed in with it. Stool could also look very dark, almost black, and tarry.
Sometimes, you can have blood in your stool that’s not visible. This is called occult bleeding. This can be a sign of bleeding inside your digestive tract. It can also signal a more serious condition like an inflammation disease in your intestines or cancer. Occult bleeding is usually found during lab tests that look at a sample of your poop to check for small amounts of blood. This is called a fecal occult blood test and it can be used as a way to screen for possible colorectal cancer. Your healthcare provider might recommend this if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. One thing to keep in mind when you see an unusual color in your poop is what you ate. There are certain foods that can change the color of your stool and make it look red or even black. This is often mistaken for blood in your stool.
The symptoms of rectal bleeding can vary depending on what is causing the bleeding. In some cases, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of a serious disease, such as colorectal cancer. It is important to see a gastroenterologist in case of form gastrointestinal bleeding
Some symptoms you might have with rectal bleeding can include:
There are many different reasons why you might experience rectal bleeding. The causes of rectal bleeding can vary from common and mild conditions to more severe and rare conditions that need immediate medical treatment. The source of bleeding can be anywhere between the mouth upto the anal canal and you should see a gastroenterologist for the same
1. Gastric and duodenal ulcers
2. Varices secondary to chronic liver disease
3. Gastric tumors
4. Acute pancreatitis with pseuodo aneurysms
5. Small bowel bleeding
Sometimes eating pigmented foods may be the reason for discoloration of stool and may not be actual rectal bleeding.Meet a agstroenetrologist to know more when unusual colors appear in the stool
Straining too hard during a bowel movement can cause rectal bleeding. This is often related to constipation. When you strain, you can cause conditions like hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Very hard stool can actually cause the skin around your anus to tear, causing you to see blood. Treating constipation can help prevent this from happening.
You will be required to be hospitalised prior to any intervention to find out the cause of bleeding. This is mainly for your safety till the source and cause of bleed can be localised and treated. A massive bleed is better managed in the hospital especially in ICU
Tests to help diagnose the cause of bleeding can include:
Your gastroenterologist may suggest only one of these tests, or do several of them together to try and discover the cause of bleeding..
It’s usually a good idea to reach out to your gastroenterologist when you see blood in stool.
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