Blood in the stool, medically known as hematochezia, is a concerning symptom that can arise from various common causes and related conditions
Common Causes of Blood in Stool
Hemorrhoids: Swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus can bleed, often leading to bright red blood in the stool or on toilet paper.
Anal Fissures: Small tears in the anal lining, usually caused by passing hard stools, can result in bright red blood during bowel movements.
Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Conditions such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, leading to black, tarry stools (melena).
Diverticulosis: Small pouches (diverticula) in the colon can bleed, leading to bright red or maroon-colored blood in the stool.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): Conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause chronic inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract, resulting in bloody stools.
Colorectal Polyps: Precancerous growths in the colon or rectum can sometimes bleed, especially if they become large or malignant.
Colorectal Cancer: Blood in the stool, particularly if accompanied by changes in bowel habits, can be an early sign of colorectal cancer.
Hemorrhagic Stroke: Bleeding in the brain, such as from a hemorrhagic stroke, can sometimes lead to blood in the stool.
Medications: Certain medications, like blood thinners or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Anal or Colorectal Trauma: Injury to the anus or rectum, such as from trauma or sexual activity, can result in bleeding.
Proper evaluation of blood in the stool is crucial to identify the underlying cause. Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital offers comprehensive diagnostic assessments, including endoscopy, colonoscopy, and imaging studies, to determine the source of bleeding and develop appropriate treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs. Early diagnosis and intervention are vital, especially in cases of potentially serious conditions like colorectal cancer.