Blood in Your Stool? Here's What It Could Mean

Look out below!

When you find blood in your stool, it’s a cause for concern – but not panic. While the presence of blackness in your stool, a streak of red upon wiping after a bowel movement, or blood detected in a test ordered at our office can signal something serious is going on in your digestive tract, it doesn’t always.

If you do notice blood in your stool, it’s best to make an appointment with us for an assessment. Here at GastroDoxs in Houston, Texas, Dr. Bharat Pothuri provides thorough evaluation and support if blood is detected in your stool. He’ll review your medical history and any other symptoms and check you for the following potential causes of bloody stools.

Diverticular disease

When you develop small pouches called diverticula in the colon wall, they can become irritated and begin to bleed. Diverticular disease is quite common and may develop due to colon pressure that causes areas of the colon to bulge out. When these pouches become inflamed, rectal bleeding and digestive distress may arise. 

If you have diverticular disease, dietary changes to include more fiber and limit red meat can help ease discomfort. Antibiotics and a drain for any abscesses can treat flare-ups.


If you detect bright red blood on your toilet tissue or in the toilet, it may be hemorrhoids causing your bleeding. These swollen blood vessels can occur inside or outside the anus and cause pain, swelling, and tenderness. They usually result from straining to use the restroom due to constipation, following a low-fiber diet, or from holding your stool for long periods of time.

Hemorrhoids are usually managed with external ointments, oral pain relievers, a high-fiber diet, and improved bowel habits. If you have severe hemorrhoids, intervention such as surgery or rubber band ligation, may be necessary to help you find relief.

Polyps or cancer

The presence of blackness in your stool may indicate internal bleeding caused by polyps or cancerous growths in the colon. Polyps are benign (noncancerous) but can develop into colon cancer and should be removed. Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and needs immediate attention. If you have signs of internal bleeding, Dr. Pothuri may recommend a colonoscopy to check for polyps or cancer.

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a small cut or tear in the tissue lining of the anus. You can think of fissures like paper cuts or chapped, split lips. They’re harmless but can be quite painful. Usually, passing a large, hard stool causes the tear(s) to occur.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammation of the colon can cause blood to appear in your stool. This inflammation is usually associated with inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. These conditions are likely caused by an immune system dysfunction and have symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and severe diarrhea.

Peptic ulcers

An open sore in the lining of your stomach or the upper end of the small intestine can cause bleeding. These ulcers may result from long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or because of an infection of Helicobacter pylori. Peptic ulcers are treated with oral medications that clear up an H. pylori infection or that reduce the amount of stomach acid you produce.

If you have blood in your stool, it’s worth a visit to GastroDoxs for a thorough evaluation. Call today or book online so any necessary treatment isn’t delayed.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Importance of Getting a Colonoscopy

Major health organizations recommend people at an average risk of colorectal cancer start their screening colonoscopies at age 45. You feel fine, however, and see the test as an inconvenience. Here’s why you should make your colonoscopy a priority.

What Is Constipation, and What Can You Do About It?

Occasional bouts of constipation are normal. But chronic constipation that lasts weeks or longer is uncomfortable and life-disrupting. Constipation can also be the sign of a serious condition. Here’s what to do if you’re bothered by constipation.

Who's at Risk for Colon Cancer?

More than 100,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Will you be among them? Find out your risk and how to get screened. Early diagnosis makes treatment easier and reduces complications.

Potential Complications of IBD

Irritable bowel disease (IBD) doesn’t just cause flare-ups of uncomfortable inflammation. IBD can cause complications that affect your long-term health. Learn more about the impact IBD can have on you, especially if it’s unmanaged.

Exercises That Can Help Your Dysphagia

Difficulty swallowing can make it hard for you to get the nourishment you need and can lead to serious medical problems. Certain exercises can help train your swallowing mechanisms to work more efficiently. Here are some to try.

How Can a Colonoscopy Improve My Health?

A colonoscopy is an important health screening tool that can help identify if you’re at risk of colon cancer. Learn more about this test and find out when you should schedule yours.