Should I Worry About Blood in My Stool?
At some point, most people will experience blood in their stool. It can be a cause for concern, but often it is not. Find out about the causes of blood in stool and when you should worry about it. We will also provide tips on how to prevent blood in your stool from happening in the first place.
If you have rectal bleeding, you might notice blood in a variety of places, including your stool, the water in the toilet bowl, and the toilet paper you use to wipe. It can be any color, including vivid crimson, deep maroon, and even black. You can actually tell where the bleeding may be originating from by the hue of the blood you see.
Bright crimson blood typically indicates low-level colon or rectal hemorrhage. Blood that is dark crimson or maroon may indicate that there is bleeding higher in the colon or in the small intestine. Melena (a dark, tar-like feces) is frequently a sign of stomach bleeding, such as bleeding from ulcers. Rectal bleeding may occasionally only be detectable under a microscope and not with the naked eye. This kind of bleeding is typically discovered in a stool sample during a lab test. (Cleveland Clinic)
Leading Causes of Rectal Bleeding
There are a variety of causes for rectal bleeding. Rectal hemorrhage is frequently brought on by alveolar fissure (a small tear in the lining of the anal canal), constipation, strong stools, and hemorrhoids (swollen and inflamed veins in your anus or rectum).
Among the less frequent reasons for rectal bleeding are throat cancer, angiodysplasia (abnormalities in the blood vessels around the intestines), stomach cancer, abdomen polyps, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, diverticulosis (a bulging pouch that grows on the wall of the gut or a bulging pouch that forms on the wall of the intestine), Colitis of the bowels (IBD), hemorrhagic colitis (a colon inflammation caused by reduced blood flow), proctitis (inflammation of the lining of the rectum), colitis pseudomembranous (a colon inflammation caused by an infection), radiation treatment, colon cancer, single-cucumber syndrome (ulcer of the rectum), and inflammatory colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease). (Mayo Clinic)
When is Rectal Bleeding an Emergency?
Although blood in the stool is frequently not an emergency, you should nonetheless let your doctor know if it happens. If you have blood in your stool along with variations in the regularity or consistency bathroom visits, weakness, or tiredness. If there is blood in the feces, it may be an emergency if accompanied by fever, severe cramping or discomfort in the abdomen, bloody diarrhea that appears out of nowhere, feeling dizzy or faint, sweating, clammy, cold skin, rapid heartbeat, more than one cup of blood being passed, fewer urinations than normal, nausea and/or vomiting, particularly vomiting blood or “coffee grounds” appearance of vomit, confusion, or vision issues.
If you have any of these symptoms in addition to blood in the stool, call 911 and head to the emergency room of a hospital. These could signal a serious infection or perhaps a medical emergency like shock. It’s just not good to guess – consulting a medical doctor is recommended. (EMedicineHealth)
Blood in the stool can be caused by a wide range of health problems and conditions. While it is often not a cause for alarm, its best to know the origin. If accompanied by other serious symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Taking steps to reduce constipation and consistently hydrating will help prevent blood in your stools in the first place. Eating fiber-rich foods and exercising regularly are also good ways to promote healthy digestion. By taking these simple precautions, you can remain proactive about your digestive health!
“Rectal Bleeding: Causes, Colors, Tests & When to Call the Doctor.” Cleveland Clinic,
“Rectal Bleeding Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Jan. 2022,
“Blood in Stool (Rectal Bleeding) Causes & When It’s an Emergency.” EMedicineHealth, EMedicineHealth, 14 Oct. 2021, www.emedicinehealth.com/is_blood_in_stool_an_emergency/article_em.htm.