You notice a bit of blood on the paper after you wipe or in the bowl after you go. Or maybe your stool is streaked with blood. It’s normal to be concerned about these findings.
Usually, rectal bleeding is due to something relatively benign, like hemorrhoids. But, it’s a good idea to get checked out if you notice repeated rectal bleeding, have especially dark stools, or experience changes in your bowel habits.
Although your rectal bleeding is likely nothing to worry about, our gastroenterologist, Dr. Bharat Pothuri, recommends you come get checked out to put your mind at ease and ensure everything is okay.
See a doctor if you notice dark blood
Darker, almost black, blood in your stool is likely coming from higher up in your gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation of your stomach lining, ulcers, gastritis, esophageal trauma, or inflammation of your intestines could be to blame. These conditions benefit from expert care, and early intervention means you get a resolution before they start causing complications or more uncomfortable symptoms.
Dark blood can also indicate some forms of cancer, so it’s a good idea to make an appointment at GastroDoxs to be evaluated.
Bright red blood, however, is most likely fresh blood, resulting from hemorrhoids or an anal fissure. You’ll likely know you have these conditions because you suffer pain, itching, and general discomfort when you use the restroom, wipe, or just sit.
Sometimes straining too hard during a bowel movement can cause rectal bleeding. Especially hard stool associated with constipation can actually tear the skin around your anus and result in bright red bleeding. Taking steps to reduce constipation, like eating lots of fiber and drinking plenty of water can help make stool move more smoothly through your large intestines.
The only way to be sure that bright red blood is from a benign cause, however, is to get confirmation from a trained gastroenterologist like Dr. Pothuri.
See a doctor when rectal bleeding accompanies other symptoms
If you notice changes in the color of your stool, its consistency, or frequency, it’s important to consult with Dr. Pothuri. These additional symptoms indicate something might be going on with your gastroenterological system, like colitis, Crohn’s disease, or rectal prolapse. Advanced stage colon cancer can also cause rectal bleeding.
You should also be concerned if you see a large volume of blood.
See a doctor for emergency rectal bleeding
If you notice rectal bleeding and it’s accompanied by rectal pain and pressure, fever, nausea and vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or light-headedness, seek care right away. These are signs that something serious is going on and you need emergency help right away.
Don’t be fooled
There are cases in which what you’ve eaten can cause unnecessary alarm. Foods like beets, dark berries, and red gelatin can darken your stool to a point that is quite concerning. It can actually look like blood in your stool. If you have a one-off incident of dark stool and no other symptoms and you’ve recently eaten one of these foods, you can probably chalk it up to your diet.
If you have rectal bleeding that’s making you worry, call GastroDoxs for a consultation or book an appointment online. We can help ease your mind or find a solution to any associated digestive problems.