Noticed Blood in Stool? Here’s What to Do...
Blood in Stool?
Blood in stool is quite a common sign. It tells you that there is some bleeding happening somewhere in the region between the stomach and anus. The blood may be bright red or brown and, in some cases, people report black stool (the medical term for this symptom is melena, and it is when a stomach ulcer causes bleeding).
There is a wide variety of causes for this blood that range from benign to worrisome.
Read on to find out more.
Blood in Stool: What Do I Do?
Don’t panic! You'll need your wits about you while you figure out what to do.
First, you'll need to determine how much blood you're talking about. If there is a lot, then you'll need immediate medical help. But if the bleeding stops a few minutes after you noticed it (and in 99% of cases, this is what happens), then there is no reason to get desperate, yell for help, or run naked to the hospital. After the bleeding stops, simply wash the area around your anus with warm water and carry on with your daily routine.
In most cases, the bleeding is so sparse or over so fast that you don't need to worry. You don’t have to go to the hospital, but you can call your doctor and ask for advice if you want to or if it continues.
Symptoms to Pay Attention to (These Will Be of Interest to Your Doctor):
1. Is the blood bright red or brown? Did you notice small drops of blood over the stool or did the stool seem to be mixed with blood?
Bright red blood suggests “fresh” bleeding and is often related to bleeding hemorrhoids. This condition is not life-threatening and can be treated with over-the-counter medications and cured with great success, even without surgery.
Brown blood is partially digested blood, so that usually means it has been in your intestines for some time (a few hours or a day or two) and sometimes it means that the cause originates in the higher parts of the intestines.
2. Did you feel any pain with the bleeding? Did you feel any other sensation when the bleeding occurred?
Hemorrhoids are often painful, so pain located in the anus could indicate that you have bleeding hemorrhoids. Fissures can be painful and bloody, too.
Sometimes, patients report that they felt like something “cracked” when they pushed the stool out. Typically, this is a sign of rupturing hemorrhoids.
3. Have you experienced this kind of bleeding before? Is the bleeding regular or irregular?
If you have experienced bleeding before, especially if you are over 50 years old, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. You don’t have to go to the emergency room, but tomorrow morning or in the next few days…
Blood in the stool is very common occurrence. The main reasons for this condition are hemorrhoids and fissures, but there are also a lot of other benign conditions related to bloody stool. Sometimes (rarely!), bleeding is a sign of a serious disease. Sometimes it takes some time and tests to determine what the cause is. Remember is to pay attention to what the blood looks like, call your doctor for advice, and make an appointment for a medical exam.