Learn about Blood in your Stool in Suffolk County, NY
Blood in the Stool: The Different Causes and When to Worry
Blood in the stool after a bowel movement is actually more common than you think. Most causes of rectal bleeding are not a threat. Common cases include hemorrhoids and anal fissures, but the only way to be certain of the cause is to call our office.
Though most rectal bleeding cases are not colon cancer, it is not possible to know the cause without an examination. This is why we encourage you to schedule an appointment to see if an examination is needed.
Listed below are the most common causes of blood in the stool, along with an explanation.
- Hemorrhoids – are swollen blood vessels in the rectum that can sometimes be painful, itchy and sometimes can bleed. Painless rectal bleeding with a bowel movement is a normal symptom with hemorrhoid. Bright red blood typically coats the stool or blood may drip into the toilet and will stain the used toilet paper.
- Anal Fissure – a tear in the lining of the anus. Anal fissure can cause bleeding and a feeling of tearing, ripping, or burning after a bowel movement.
- Other Causes of Rectal Bleeding – other, more serious complications of rectal bleeding can be colon cancer, colon polyps, colitis, and diverticulosis.
Testing for more serious problems from blood in the stool depends on your age, symptoms and your past medical history. Different tests include:
- Rectal Examination – used to detect the cause of rectal bleeding. In younger ages, this exam may be all that needs to be done.
- Anoscopy – allows the doctor to inspect the anus and lower rectum. It is done in office and does not involve sedation.
- Sigmoidoscopy – a clinician can examine the rectum and most of the large intestine and can be done without sedation.
- Colonoscopy – a procedure that examines the entire colon. The patient is usually sedated.
Essentially, most rectal bleeding is a not-so-serious problem that was mentioned above, but blood in the stool can also be cause by cancerous or precancerous conditions. Precancerous polyps near the end of the colon can mimic bleeding from hemorrhoids and are generally present in the colon for years before they become cancerous.