What is Blood in Stool

November 4, 2020 Lifestyle Diseases 7297 Views

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What is Blood in Stool?

It is the passage of blood in the faeces. Blood in the stools may be of 3 types.

  • There may be blood seen in the toilet after the passage of stool, on straining, or on wiping. This is known as Fresh blood. Fresh blood is usually seen when the bleeding is in the recto-anal region.
  • There may not be blood seen as a red coloration but in fact, the color of the stools may become dark and black. This is known as Melena. Melena is seen when there is an upper gastrointestinal tract bleed viz. Esophagus (food pipe), Stomach or Duodenum.
  • Blood may not be visible to the naked eye in the stools but may be seen on microscopic examination. This is known as Occult blood. It is seen when there are small bleeds present anywhere in the entire intestine.

Fresh blood and Melena can be seen by the patient but Occult blood is seen only after examination of a stool sample by a lab. The presence of any of these is surely indicative of some kind of gastrointestinal pathology. It is important to not ignore this and surely consult a doctor and do further investigations. 

Let us explain to you more about blood in stools in this article.

  • What are the causes of Blood in Stool?
  • What are the symptoms of Blood in Stool?
  • What are the risk factors for blood in stool?
  • How to diagnose Blood in Stool?
  • What are the treatments for Blood in Stool?
  • Prevention of Blood in Stool

What are the causes of Blood in Stool?

Blood in stools indicates that there is hemorrhage (bleeding) present at some level in the gastrointestinal tract. There are multiple causes for this which can be confirmed only with a thorough clinical examination along with investigations. Possible causes are as follows-

1) Anal lesions:

  • Fissures- It is a tear in the lining of the anus
  • Fistulas- It is the formation of an abnormal tract communicating with the rectum or anus
  • Ulceration- Ulcer in the mucosa of the anus

2) Rectal lesions:

  • Piles- Also known as hemorrhoids, are the dilatation and bleeding of the veins in the walls of the rectum and the anus
  • Polyps- Small abnormal growths in the rectum that may bleed due to trauma
  • Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum)
  • Cancer

3) Colonic lesions:

  • Dysentery
  • Diverticula 
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis)
  • Parasitic infestation
  • Cancer Colon
  • Polyps
  • Some drugs

(Know more about- What is Liver Cancer? Causes, Symptoms and Treatments )

4) Others:

  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Anticoagulant therapy
  • Liver failure- Due to the inadequate synthesis of clotting factors
  • Renal failure- Due to platelet dysfunction

( Know more about- What is Liver Cirrhosis ? Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention )

What are the symptoms of Blood in Stool?

The presence of blood in the stools is not a normal finding and must immediately be reported to a doctor. The patient may see blood in the walls of the commode or red coloration of the water. Bloodstains may be found in the undergarments of the patient. Very dark and black coloured stools are also significant and this is known as melena. 

Other associated symptoms are as follows-

  • Rectal or anal pain
  • Pain while defecating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis)
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Palpitations 
  • Fainting spells
  • Unexplained weight loss

(Know more about- What are Abdominal Lumps? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention)

What are the risk factors for Blood in Stool?

  • Individuals with a history of stomach bleeding or hemorrhoids
  • Undiagnosed or diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease
  • History of peptic ulcers
  • Risk of upper gastrointestinal cancer
  • Intake of certain drugs
  • Alcohol

How to diagnose Blood in Stool?

The treatment for blood in stools varies according to the underlying cause. The causes can be diagnosed by the following investigations:

  • Proctoscopy
  • Per-rectal examination
  • Colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, Upper GI endoscopy 
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Enteroscopy
  • Barium studies
  • Stool  Test
  • MRI and CT scan

( Know more about- What is Endoscopy? Types, Purpose and Procedure )

What are the treatments for Blood in Stool?

Once the cause has been identified the following treatments may be administered:

  • Reduction of piles with medication or surgery or Endoscopic injection combined with diet and lifestyle changes.

( Know more about- What is Piles Surgery? Causes, Tests, Treatment, Risks, Cost )

  • Removal of polyps or a cancerous growth which is sent for pathological examination.
  • Treatment of Peptic or Duodenal ulcers with medical therapy.
  • Antihelminthic drugs for parasitic infestations.
  • Treatment of inflammatory conditions with anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Anemia is treated with iron supplementation; in case of severe blood loss, blood transfusion may be required.
  • For  Colon or Rectal cancer cases surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be reqd

( Know more about – What is Ulcerative Colitis ? Causes, Symptoms and Treatments )

Prevention of Blood in Stool 

Blood in the stool can only be prevented by reducing the risk of carcinoma, piles, fissures, and fistulas. This can be done by-

  • Increased water and fiber intake. Water moistens the stools and fiber helps retain the water in the stools making them soft and easy to pass.
  • This reduces straining during defecation, thus chances of getting piles, fistulas, and fissures are greatly reduced.

( Know more about- Diet Plan for Piles patients )

  • Fiber helps clean the colon and prevents constipation thus reducing the risk of developing carcinomas. Examples of food rich in fiber are cereals, bran, legumes, beet, and fruits. Fiber supplements such as Psyllium husk and Lactulose may also be used.

( Know more about- What is Colonoscopy? Purpose, Methods and Treatment )

We hope we were able to answer your questions pertaining to Blood in Stool in this article.

If you want further information and treatment of Blood in Stool, contact a  Gastroenterologist

We only aim to give you information through this article. We do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and treatment plan. 


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