Blood in the stool, also known as rectal bleeding, is a common symptom of various underlying conditions and diseases. While it can be alarming, the causes of rectal bleeding are often benign and treatable. The most common causes of rectal bleeding are anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease. Less common causes include colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Most cases of rectal bleeding can be treated with home remedies or over-the-counter medications. However, severe or persistent cases may require medical intervention.
- Common causes:
Several conditions can cause blood in the stools, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal that can bleed. Anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus that can also bleed. IBD is a group of chronic diseases that involve inflammation of the intestines.
Blood in the stool can also be caused by less common conditions such as colorectal cancer or polyps. If you experience any bleeding from the rectum, it’s important to see a doctor so that the cause can be diagnosed and treated appropriately.
- Less common causes:
There are many potential blood causes in the stool, ranging from benign to life-threatening. While common causes like hemorrhoids or anal fissures can often be treated at home, other less common causes, like colorectal cancer or gastric ulcers, may require more aggressive treatment.
Gastric ulcers are another potential cause of blood in the stool.
Doctors can diagnose the causes of blood in stool in a few different ways. One way is to do a digital rectal exam, which involves the doctor feeling for any abnormalities in the rectum. Another way is to do a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, which involves inserting a camera into the rectum and colon to look for abnormalities. If there are any suspicious areas, the doctor may take a biopsy to confirm whether or not there is cancer present.
Treatment options for blood in stool will vary depending on the underlying cause. If it is something like hemorrhoids, treatment may involve lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. If it is something more serious like cancer, treatment will likely involve more aggressive measures like surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
If you have blood in your stool, it could be caused by several things. The most common cause is hemorrhoids, swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus. If you have hemorrhoids, you may notice blood when you wipe after a bowel movement. Other causes of blood in the stools include:
- Anal fissures (tears in the lining of the anus).
- Anal fistulas (abnormal passages between the anus and rectum).
- Colorectal cancer.
If you see blood in your stool, it’s important to see a doctor so they can determine the cause. If hemorrhoids are the cause, treatment may involve over-the-counter creams or suppositories to reduce inflammation, sitz baths (soaking in a warm bath), and increased fiber intake to soften stools.