Blood in the stool can be alarming for both adults and children. The bright red colour may make you worry that there is a bleeding ulcer or cancer inside the lining of your large intestine (colon). However, many people have flowing blood vessels in their colons.
When blood is in the stool, there are several common causes:
1. Bacteria or infection
You should see a doctor before worry about this. There are often causes of blood in the stool related to infections in the colon, such as bacterial infections and ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine).
The most common bacterial infections are:
1. Salmonella, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, E. coli and Campylobacter 2. Clostridium difficile Inflammation of the large intestine is known as colitis. With inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), your large intestine' tissue becomes damaged and inflamed. While there are over 100 different types of IBD, the most common is ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis usually involves the lining of your large intestine. With ulcerative colitis, mucous and blood hematospermia, or blood in the stool) develop. The blood may be bright red due to bleeding. There can be many symptoms such as pain and cramping, diarrhoea (often bloody), loss of appetite and weight loss.
2. Bile duct obstruction
This is when a blockage occurs in one part of the bile duct system. Bile duct damage can occur from:
a. Stomach ulcers and other causes
b. Bleeding in the stomach from a peptic ulcer or gallbladder disease bile duct cancer
A very early sign of colon cancer is blood in your stool. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the world after skin and lung cancers. Colon cancer can be challenging to detect because it often looks similar to other digestive diseases: constipation, diarrhoea, or hard stools (irritable bowel syndrome). Colon cancers are also mostly diagnosed when they are already advanced when compared with rectal cancers-so it is essential to detect them early when they are small and treat them before they have spread!
The most common symptoms of colon cancer include:
1. Pain in the lower right abdomen
2. Burning sensation or a bitter taste in the mouth
3. A change in bowel habits (diarrhoea or blood in the stool)
4. Unexplained weight loss Although these are the most common symptoms, some people with colon cancer do not have any symptoms at all! Colon cancer can occur in anyone but is more common in people over 50 years of age. Age is the most significant risk factor for colon cancer, but other factors may increase your chances of developing it-such as genetics (family history), diet, lack of exercise and smoking. Other symptoms include fever, chills, and rectal bleeding.
Colon cancer may cause a lump in your abdomen (called a mass). The most common mass seen with colon cancer is a liver shaped tumour. This is called hepatocellular carcinoma, and it may be the only symptom at this stage.
Two of the best ways to prevent colon cancer are to maintain a healthy weight and to stop smoking.
How do you detect colon cancer in its early stages? Here are some things your doctor will be looking for:
1. Marked or persistent pain in the abdomen
2. Abnormal bowel movements
3. Weight loss
4. Unexplained fever When you have any of these symptoms, it is essential to see your doctor.
This is a straightforward test that can be done in the doctor's office. It concerns blood in the stool (hematuria) and takes 10 minutes to complete.
It is essential to know that there are a number of things that can cause blood in the stool. Fortunately, most are treatable and should be addressed very quickly. It is also essential to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have about blood in your stool.
Diagnosing hematuria can be very easy and will help your doctor make a quick diagnosis (which will determine what type of treatment you may need). This test measures the amount of blood in your stool. The lab will test for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) as well as immunohistochemical analysis.
2. Blood in the Stool: Causes here are some of the most common causes for blood in your stool.
1. Stomach ulcers or bleeding in the stomach.
A stomach ulcer is caused by various factors such as an infection, an injury or chronic irritation to your digestive system, surgery, or radiation treatment. A tiny ulcer may go unnoticed, but a large one can cause severe bleeding and lead to severe problems such as stomach cancer, Inflammation of your oesophagus, damage to your liver and recovery from surgery may take weeks (or months). Most ulcers heal on their own, but if one does not, you should see a doctor immediately.
A varicose vein is a swollen, twisted and enlarged blood vessel. This condition can lead to bleeding inside your abdominal cavity (called an "internal bleed"). A doctor may prescribe the medications Heparin or Warfarin to treat varices. You may also need surgery to close up or remove a damaged blood vessel.
3. Colon cancer:
This disease can lead to rectal bleeding and is usually diagnosed if you have a family history of colon cancer, are over 50 years of age or smoke regularly. Talk to your doctor about any concerns that you may have about rectal bleeding-especially if it happens more than once per month (or continues only for a short period).
4. Bowel obstruction (For people that are over 50 years of age and over 5 cm from their anus):
The most common cause of obstruction is narrowing of the colon. There are several causes for this, including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis or a tumour in the gut. These can cause Inflammation of the oesophagus. This is called oesophageal reflux disease or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Any sudden change in bowel habits should be investigated as a possible symptom of an obstruction (such as anaemia or blood loss). A pressure test can reveal this problem by checking any blockages in the bowel that may have caused the symptoms.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
This symptom can be caused by a number of possible conditions, such as ulcerative colitis (Inflammation of the colon), Crohn's disease, diverticulitis or a tumour in the gut. This condition can lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain. Irritable bowel syndrome has no treatments or cures, but it can be managed with medications that help relieve some of the symptoms, such as painkillers (see above). A doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes so that you feel more comfortable in your own body. Many people find that managing these problems helps to make them feel more relaxed and happier about life in general.
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