Finding blood in your stool can be worrisome. It could be a sign that something within your body needs medical attention. It is worth having a conversation with one of our colon and rectal specialists about what you are experiencing. Continue reading to understand some of the potential reasons blood can show up in your stool.
Causes of Blood in Stool
There are a range of different reasons why you may have blood in your stool. Hemorrhoids are a common cause and may lead to bleeding. Other causes include:
- Anal Fissures
- Trauma or injury to the colorectal system
- Rectal prolapse
- Rectal ulcers or polyps
- Diverticular bleeding
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
- Colorectal cancer
It is important to note that a few of these causes, particularly hemorrhoids and anal fissures, can be related to other things, such as chronic constipation, or straining during a bowel movement. The only way to know the true cause of blood appearing in your stool is to have an examination completed.
Pay Attention to the Appearance of the Blood
Blood in your stool can take on more than one appearance. The entire digestive system can be up to 30 feet in length, and bleeding can occur at any point along the system. Bright red blood is typical, but it can also look darker, based on what is going on internally. Bleeding that happens lower in the colon can look bright red, but an issue higher up in the digestive system can result in blood that is much darker. It may even have a black or tar-like appearance.
Don’t Disregard Additional Symptoms
Blood in the stool may be just one of many symptoms you experience. Other changes in your body should be noted, as they can help determine the cause. The following symptoms should be mentioned at your appointment, in addition to blood in your stool:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal or pelvic pain
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
Because blood in the stool can indicate the presence of many issues ranging from cancer to Crohn’s disease, even occasional bleeding should be taken seriously.
Schedule an Appointment
A rectal exam or a colonoscopy may be required to determine why you are experiencing blood in your stool and to rule out certain causes. The team at Piedmont Colorectal Associates is here to help. Our modern and relaxing facilities are designed to put you at ease while our skilled specialists provide you with care that exceeds your expectations. If you have questions or are ready to book an appointment, contact one of our locations, or simply schedule your appointment online.