What Could Be The Cause Of Blood In My Stool – 10 Common Causes of Blood in the Stool (Hematochezia) Blood in the stool can be an indicator of a more serious health condition. Learn about the most common reasons for finding blood in your stool.
You may be shocked to discover blood in the toilet or when you wipe after a bowel movement. Or, your doctor may find traces of blood in stools after some routine medical tests. You may also have noticed a change in the color of your stools. Blood in the stools is generally known as hematochezia. It means you may have internal bleeding somewhere in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
- 1 What Could Be The Cause Of Blood In My Stool
- 2 Vasodilation: What Causes Blood Vessels To Widen
What Could Be The Cause Of Blood In My Stool
The general location of the bleeding can affect the color of the stools. If the blood is a bright red or maroon-like shade, it usually indicates bleeding in the rectum or colon (or anywhere else in the lower GI tract). Stools that are black and tarry, on the other hand, generally indicate bleeding in the upper GI tract.
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The exact reason will be known only after you get a full medical check, because bloody stools are a common symptom of a variety of health complications. It is therefore important to get checked as soon as you discover blood in the stools. Early detection of the root cause can mean the difference between a quick recovery or a long hospital stay.
In this article, we will cover the common causes of bloody stools, and what you should know about the causes.
An anal fissure is a small cut or tear in the thin lining of the anus or anal canal, which is the opening where stools are excreted from the body. Anal fissures can happen to anyone, but the risk of it generally reduces as a person ages. Bleeding from the fissure usually leads to blood in the stools, mainly bright red in color.
Anal fissures can occur because of difficult bowel movements, such as constipation, difficulty passing large stools, or even prolonged diarrhea. There may also be underlying conditions that may cause anal fissures, such as infections or other diseases. Anal fissures can even affect babies and women after childbirth.
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The main symptoms of anal fissures are pain and bleeding during bowel movements. There may be an initial sharp pain when you pass movement, followed by a burning sensation immediately after. Treatment of fissures will focus on softening stools, as well as easing any discomfort or bleeding that occurs. Simple home remedies, such as taking warm baths and changing your diet, are usually more than enough to heal anal fissures. Otherwise, prescribed medication ointments or suppositories can help to treat anal fissures.
Sometimes referred to as piles, hemorrhoids are dilated, or enlarged, blood vessels that can cause irritation, discomfort and/or, in some cases, pain. Any kind of heavy straining that may increase pressure on the abdomen or lower parts of the body may cause the surrounding anal and rectal veins (as well as tissue) to swell and become inflamed. As such, hemorrhoids can affect even pregnant women or people with obesity.
There are three types of hemorrhoids: internal, external, and prolapsed. Internal hemorrhoids form in the rectum. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, form under the skin around the anus. Prolapsed hemorrhoids occur when internal or external hemorrhoids exit the anus. Hemorrhoids generally cause irritation and are thankfully not life-threatening.
Blood clots on the skin can also potentially form in external hemorrhoids, causing considerable pain. This is called a thrombosed external hemorrhoids. When this happens, pain is a more prominent symptom, especially since the area around the anus is lined with many pain receptors.
Common Causes Of Blood In Stool (hematochezia)
Hemorrhoids can sometimes occur without any symptoms and go away after some time. Much like treating anal fissures, home remedies are good enough to treat hemorrhoids. In more serious cases, topical creams or medications (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce symptoms or cure them entirely. Medical procedures can be used instead if the hemorrhoids are not treated by any other means. One procedure is rubber band ligation, where a small rubber band is tied around a hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply.
Viral gastroenteritis, or simply “stomach flu”, is an intestinal and stomach infection caused by a virus, bacteria or even a parasite. Unlike its colloquial name, gastroenteritis does not have anything to do with influenza. It affects people of any age and is caused by coming into contact with someone with gastroenteritis (or harmful bacteria that cause it), not washing hands after using the toilet, or consuming contaminated, or poorly prepared, food or water.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis normally include watery diarrhea – in rare cases, with blood in stools – as well as nausea, abdominal pain or cramps, and vomiting. Diarrhea is the most common symptom, and a person can lose a lot of water along the way. Dehydration is an unintended side effect of gastroenteritis, which can potentially weaken the body and cause other health complications.
Treating gastroenteritis simply requires adequate rest and replacing lost fluids from the bouts of diarrhea that may occur. Be sure not to stay dehydrated for too long.
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IBD is a term that describes a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation in the intestines. This includes disorders such as Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract), and ulcerative colitis (growth of ulcers in the large intestines). IBD should not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as the latter is a group of symptoms that affects bowel function. IBS also does not cause severe inflammation or other damage to the intestines, unlike IBD. It is still possible to have both IBD and IBS, though.
The exact causes of IBD are not yet known, although it is suspected that it may be an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack cells in the digestive tract. It can also be an inherited disease if a person’s family has a history of IBD. Whatever the cause may be, symptoms of IBD can vary depending on how severe the inflammation is. These include blood in stools, stomach pain or cramps, diarrhea, nausea and fatigue.
IBD also can cause a variety of significant health complications, including a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, liver disease, and other issues. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes will be needed to control inflammation and help reduce risk factors. Depending on the IBD, a person will need to take anti-inflammatory medications, NSAIDs, or require surgery to correct major symptoms. Crohn’s disease, for example, may require a bowel resection to remove a diseased bowel segment.
Angiodysplasia refers to abnormal blood vessels in the GI tract. Some cases where blood in stools occurs without any may be due to this condition. It is also the most common vascular abnormality in the GI tract. Angiodysplasia causes blood vessels to become swollen over time, although the exact cause has not been confirmed.
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It is said that the occasional spasms of the GI tract may be what causes the blood vessels in the GI tract to become enlarged. This eventually causes arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) to form, where the blood vessels connecting arteries and veins are tangled up. This leads to a disruption in blood flow or even causes a blood leak as the blood vessels become weak. Angiodysplasia tends to be associated with older people, as blood vessels also gradually weaken as a person grows older.
Symptoms of angiodysplasia can be subtle or do not present themselves. Symptoms can include anemia and its associated symptoms, as well as rectal bleeding. Blood loss will depend on the severity of the AVMs and if there are any leaks. Treating it will require an angiography to block blood vessels that are bleeding, treat it with medicine; or by cauterizing the site of the bleeding to prevent more blood loss.
Colonic, or colorectal, polyps are the most common type of polyp, a mass of tissue that develops on the lining of a hollow organ. In the case of colonic polyps, they grow along the lining of the colon. It is said that 15-40 percent of people have colonic polyps, more so for older people.
Polyps form for a variety of reasons, although not always fully understood. Genetics may have a connection to polyp formation, with a higher likelihood of developing polyps if someone has a hereditary condition such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis. There may also be a connection to abnormal tissue growth, as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity.
Causes Of Blood In Stool You Need To Know
People with colonic polyps tend to have no symptoms, which is why early screenings are important to detect polyps early. If these symptoms present themselves, common symptoms include rectal bleeding, blood in stools, abdominal pain, or long periods of constipation or diarrhea. Some polyps have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, which can be fatal if left untreated. Removing polyps early through a colonoscopy (or laparoscopy) is the best option. This is a minimally invasive surgery with a relatively quick recovery time if all goes well.
These two terms are both related to diverticula, a
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