What is Rectal Bleeding
Do you normally have a look at your poo immediately after helping yourself out? Or do you take that as a rushed commitment and need to jump out of there as soon as possible. Well to a doctor, that is a very big mistake. But to you, that is a non-commitment. From today, we as team #jmexclusives, do urge you to start looking at your deposit or else you may have less or more of you to deposit. You could possibly save your life just by noticing something weird or different happening down there. Whether you discover blood after wiping or from a fecal test ordered by your doctor, finding blood in your stool can be scary. While bloody stool can be a symptom associated with several serious medical conditions, this usually isn’t the case. 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).
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. Most people with minor rectal bleeding do not have colon cancer or another serious condition. However, it is not possible to know the cause of rectal bleeding without an examination. Thus, anyone who notices rectal bleeding should talk to their healthcare provider to determine if an examination is needed. Bloody stool is a sign that there is bleeding somewhere along the digestive tract. The blood can range in color from bright red to maroon, and it can even appear tarry and black if the bleeding is occurring higher up in the digestive tract.
More common, less-serious causes of bloody stool include:
- Hemorrhoids – Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels found in the rectum or anus that can be itchy, painful and sometimes bleed. Those who suffer from hemorrhoids may notice bright red blood either in the toilet or coating the stool after a bowel movement.
- Anal Fissures – An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus, which can cause bleeding and the sensation of ripping, tearing or burning after a bowel movement.
- Peptic Ulcers – A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach, an upper end of the small intestine or duodenum caused by a bacterial infection.
- Food poisoning – In addition to other issues, several foodborne organisms can cause bloody stool. A stool sample can help identify which bacteria you have been exposed to and how to treat the infection.
Other more serious causes of blood in stool include:
- Crohn’s disease – Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract lining and can lead to severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Colon Polyps – Colon polyps are benign growths, or clumps of cells, that form along the lining of the colon. Although usually harmless, colon polyps can grow, bleed and become cancerous.
- Cancer – Blood in the stool can be a symptom of cancer along the digestive tract. Colon cancer and anal cancer are two types that can cause bleeding; sometimes not noticeable to the naked eye to more severe bleeding.
Because bloody stool can be a sign of a serious medical condition, it is suggested that anyone who notices blood in his or her stool speak with a physician to determine if further examination and treatment is needed. In addition, regular screenings, such as fecal occult tests and colonoscopies, are recommended for everyone above the age of 50 to help detect more serious digestive issues.
It is important to have a doctor evaluate any bleeding in the stool. Any details you can give about the bleeding will help your doctor locate the site of bleeding. For example, a black, tarry stool is likely an ulcer or other problem in the upper part of the digestive tract. Bright red blood or maroon-colored stools usually indicate a problem in the lower part of the digestive tract such as hemorrhoids or diverticulitis. After getting a medical history and doing a physical exam, the health-care provider may order tests to determine the cause of bleeding.
Tests may include;
- Nasogastric lavage: A test that may tell your doctor whether bleeding is in the upper or lower digestive tract. The procedure involves removing the contents of the stomach through a tube inserted into the stomach through the nose. If the stomach does not contain evidence of blood, the bleeding may have stopped or is more likely in the lower digestive tract.
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD): A procedure that involves inserting an endoscope, or flexible tube with a small camera on the end, through the mouth and down the esophagus to the stomach and duodenum. The doctor can use this to look for the source of bleeding. Endoscopy can also be used to collect small tissue samples for examination under a microscope (biopsy).
- Colonoscopy: A procedure similar to an EGD except that the scope is inserted through the rectum to view the colon. As with an EGD, colonoscopy can be used to collect tissue samples for biopsy.
- Enteroscopy: A procedure similar to EGD and colonoscopy used to examine the small intestine. In some cases this involves swallowing a capsule with a tiny camera inside that transmits images to a video monitor as it passes through the digestive tract.
- Barium X-ray: A procedure that uses a contrast material called barium to make the digestive tract show up on an X-ray. The barium may either be swallowed or inserted into the rectum.
- Radionuclide scanning: A procedure that involves injecting small amounts of radioactive material into a vein and then using a special camera to see images of blood flow in the digestive tract to detect where bleeding is happening.
- Angiography: A procedure that involves injecting a special dye into a vein that makes blood vessels visible on an X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan. The procedure detects bleeding as dye leaks out of blood vessels at the bleeding site.
- Laparotomy. A surgical procedure in which the doctor opens and examines the abdomen. This may be necessary if other tests fail to find the cause of bleeding. Health care providers also order lab tests when there is blood in stools. These tests may look for clotting problems, anemia, and the presence of H. pylori infection.
Blood in Stool Treatments
Depending on the results of the examination, treatment can include medication, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, to surgery. A doctor may use one of several techniques to stop the acute bleeding. Often endoscopy is used to inject chemicals into the site of bleeding, treat the bleeding site with an electric current or laser, or apply a band or clip to close the bleeding vessel. If endoscopy does not control bleeding, the doctor may use angiography to inject medicine into the blood vessels to control bleeding.
Beyond stopping the immediate bleeding, if necessary, treatment involves addressing the cause of bleeding to keep it from returning. Treatment varies depending on the cause and may include medications such as antibiotics to treat H. pylori, ones to suppress acid in the stomach, or anti-inflammatory drugs to treat colitis. Surgery may be needed to remove polyps or the parts of the colon damaged by cancer, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Depending on the cause, however, treatment may involve simple things you can do on your own. These including eating a high-fiber diet to relieve constipation that can cause and aggravate hemorrhoids and anal fissures, and sitting in warm or hot baths to relieve fissures. However, your doctor will prescribe or recommend treatment based on the diagnosis. If you do experience moderate to severe rectal bleeding, your physician may refer you to a gastroenterologist.
Our Credible References;
- Unity Point Health (Blood in Stool: What Does it mean?)
- Web Med (Blood in Stool)
- Up to Date (Patient education: Blood in the stool (rectal bleeding) in adults (Beyond the Basics))
- Mayo Clinic (Blood in Stool)
- Medicine.net ( Blood ins the Stool (Rectal Bleeding))
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (Alarm Symptoms: A Cause for Alarm?)
- Health Direct (Blood in Stool)
- Cancer Research UK (Bowel cancer)
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