Why feces come with blood and what to do about it

How to understand that there is blood in the stool

Blood in the stool is also known as rectal bleeding. Various signs can tell about it:

  • blood on toilet paper;
  • bloody streaks or inclusions in the feces;
  • toilet water dyed pink or red after a bowel movement
  • dark red, black, tarry stools.

The blood will not necessarily look the same (although it often does). In order to digest food, that is, to turn it from something large and complex in structure into small molecules, there are different chemicals throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The farther the bleeding is from the anus, the more of these substances will react with the blood, so you can see:

  • bright red blood if the rectum or lower colon is damaged;
  • dark red or maroon blood, if the overlying sections are thick or thin;
  • dark and tarry stools, or melena if there is blood in the stomach. This black color is obtained by the interaction of hemoglobin with acidic gastric juice.

Sometimes there is so little blood that it cannot be detected by eye. It is possible only with the help of a fecal occult blood test.

What are the symptoms that need immediate attention?

Some rectal bleeding can lead to shock: the volume of blood in the vessels drops, it is no longer enough for all organs, the body’s response begins, which in the end can cost a person life. Therefore, call an ambulance if there is blood in the stool, and also:

  • pressure dropped sharply;
  • heart beats very fast;
  • unable to urinate;
  • consciousness is disturbed.

Why can there be blood in the stool or something similar to it

Sometimes diseases are to blame , and sometimes it’s not blood at all.

Use of certain foods or drugs

Sometimes, after examination, it turns out that it was not the blood that changed the color of the feces, but the foods eaten the day before, such as beets, berries, dark leafy vegetables such as black basil, licorice and others. Red food colorings and medicines that stain black stools are also similar to blood, such as:

  • iron preparations;
  • bismuth compounds for treating ulcers;
  • activated carbon and others.

Haemorrhoids

With hemorrhoids, the veins in the lower part of the rectum expand, as with varicose veins. Because of this, they become more sensitive and easily damaged if you push or use paper. Therefore, they often bleed. There is usually no pain, but the person notices blood on the paper or in the toilet.

anal fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the mucous membrane of the wall of the anus. In addition to bleeding, there is usually burning pain during or after a bowel movement .

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

These include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Due to chronic inflammation, erosions and ulcers appear on the intestinal wall, which can bleed.

peptic ulcer

At the bottom of a gastric or duodenal ulcer, rather large vessels can be located, with a rupture of which severe bleeding opens. The very surface of the ulcers is also easily damaged and can bleed during an exacerbation of the disease.

Diverticula

In the weakened and thinned parts of the intestinal wall, diverticula similar to sacs can form. If such a bag is damaged, it will begin to bleed. And if it becomes inflamed, then diverticulitis will develop – an acute inflammation resembling appendicitis.

Intestinal polyps

Polyps are benign tumors in the intestines. If they are damaged, they cause bleeding. They can be of different sizes, but large ones often turn into cancer, so they require more attention and control.

Colon or rectal cancer

Sometimes people ignore the bleeding for years, thinking it’s the hemorrhoids. But it turns out to be colorectal cancer – a malignant tumor in the intestines. The later it is detected, the more difficult it is to treat, so if you have any signs of bleeding, you should consult a doctor. And for some people, it is desirable to do screening tests, for example, for occult blood. This applies to those who:

  • older than 40–50 years;
  • suffering from inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
  • has relatives with polyps or bowel cancer or has experienced these diseases in the past;
  • suffers from familial intestinal polyposis;
  • smokes;
  • is overweight ;
  • leads a sedentary lifestyle;
  • consumes alcohol, low fiber and high fat.

What to do if there seems to be blood in the stool

Most people with rectal bleeding do not have colon cancer or other serious conditions. But in any case, this is an abnormal situation, and it requires examination.

First you need to see a therapist. He will examine and decide who to go to next – to the surgeon, if it’s a fissure or hemorrhoids, or to a gastroenterologist, if there are suspicions of inflammatory diseases or an ulcer. To make a diagnosis, you may need :

  • rectal digital examination of the anus and rectum;
  • colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, that is, studies of the entire large intestine or part of it;
  • gastroscopy – examination of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum;
  • stool test for occult blood.

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