Finding blood in stool can be very alarming. Despite how upsetting it can be, this symptom doesn’t always mean that a serious medical problem exists. In some cases, it could be a minor condition that needs treatment. A gastroenterologist can provide more insight into the cause and how to treat it.
What Causes Bloody Stool?
If you find blood in your stool, then it means that something is bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract. The quantity of blood can be so small that it can only be detected using a fecal occult test. Other patients may notice right away after a bowel movement. What are the possible causes of bloody stool?
- Anal Fissure – An anal fissure is a small tear or cut in tissue that lines the anus. It’s similar to a paper cut or chapped lips. Fissures can appear after passing a large, hard stool. This can lead to pain and discomfort.
- Diverticular Disease – Small pouches called diverticula can form along the colon wall. They are usually not noticeable and cause no problems. Occasionally they may bleed and can be susceptible to infection.
- Colitis – Colitis is inflammation of the colon that’s usually caused by inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD.
- Peptic Ulcers – Peptic ulcers are sores that appear in the stomach lining, often caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Polyps & Colorectal Cancer – Polyps are benign growths that can cause bleeding. They can also lead to colorectal cancer. Bleeding may not be visible. Patients should schedule regular screenings to check for polyps and cancer.
A gastroenterologist can provide more information on the cause of bloody stools and provide the best treatment options for your condition.