Why Is There Blood in My Stool?
Detecting red blood in a bowel movement can be disconcerting and is likely to cause you to be worried about your medical wellness. However, blood in your stool (hematochezia) may not always suggest a serious health problem. Several conditions could result in having dark, maroon, or bright red bloody stools. The gastroenterology physicians at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in DFW routinely address this symptom and can diagnose the cause of bloody stools or rectal bleeding among people of all ages.
Does blood in the stool point to a serious health issue?
Fresh or red blood in the stool is a sign that bleeding has transpired somewhere along the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Bleeding can develop in any portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool in DFW patients can be caused by minor GI conditions that can be simply managed without major care. But because rectal bleeding or bloody stools might also be a symptom of a number of significant medical diseases, it’s essential to see a GI doctor right away to confirm the cause.
What causes bloody stools?
While it’s true that hematochezia can be completely benign, it could also indicate a more complex health concern and should never be ignored. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding causes might include:
- Cancer of the colon
- Gastric cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Anal fissures
When should I visit a physician for bloody stool?
Any instances of dark or fresh blood in stools that occur more than once should be assessed by a gastroenterologist. Immediate treatment should be received if the amount of blood in the stool is heavy or in cases where gastrointestinal symptoms, like loose stools, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, lightheadedness, or additional concerns, are also present. The physicians at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants can recommend specific tests to ascertain at what point along the GI tract the bleeding is originating. In addition, they can identify the causes of blood in the stool and decide whether treatment is required. Common procedures often utilized to diagnose conditions causing red blood in the stool or rectal bleeding include:
- Stool analysis (fecal tests): These types of lab tests can detect the presence of occult (hidden) blood in the stool, which could be a sign of colon cancer or other gastrointestinal conditions.
- Upper endoscopy: An upper endoscopy, often called an upper GI, involves the insertion of a thin scope fitted with a tiny camera through the oral cavity and into the GI tract. This diagnostic procedure can help physicians learn if blood in the stool is coming from a condition affecting the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which make up the upper portion of the gastrointestinal system.
- Capsule endoscopy: With capsule endoscopy, a small capsule containing a wireless camera is swallowed, like an oral pill. The advanced camera captures and transmits pictures of the various areas of the digestive system as it moves through the upper gastrointestinal tract and into the small intestine.
- Colonoscopy: With a colonoscopy procedure, a long, flexible device fitted with a special camera is used to provide a live view of the lining of the large intestine (colon). GI doctors often perform this endoscopic process to identify conditions or growths within the rectum or colon that could be causing rectal bleeding or red blood in the stool. Polyps may also be excised during a colonoscopy, which could help to decrease the possibility of colon cancer as time goes on.
Experienced gastroenterologists in DFW
Gastrointestinal health is highly important to your overall wellness. If you have red blood in your stool, it's important to visit a gastrointestinal specialist to diagnose its cause and help improve your health. Get in touch with Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in DFW today to set up a consultation with an experienced GI specialist.