Seeing blood in one’s stool can mean anything. It can be simple rectal disorders such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures or it can be as serious as colon cancer. However, the only way that you can determine whether the cause of rectal bleeding is life-threatening or not is through careful examination by a health-care physician.
Possible causes of rectal bleeding
Blood in stool can signify problems in the gastrointestinal tract or within the anus area. By looking at the stool, you will be able to have a clue on where the bleeding started. If you wiped off fresh blood from your anus, this can mean that the bleeding started within the said area. However, if the blood caused your stool to blacken, there is a high chance of internal disorders that perhaps started in the large intestine.
Some of the common causes of blood in stool are not really serious. Things like anal fissures, hemorrhoids and diarrhea can be addressed through simple lifestyle modifications and dietary changes to make the passing of stool easier; whereas colon cancer, Chron’s diseases and the like must be addressed immediately to prevent further complications.
Aside from seeing a physician, it is also important to determine if there is really presence of blood in the stool. Certain foods can make your stool appear red that you can easily mistake for blood. If you have consumed foods such as red gelatin, tomato soup or juice, beets, and any food that has red coloring, these can instantly make the stool appear redder. Therefore, it is vital that you visit a physician and have some tests made.
Available rectal bleeding tests
Some of the tests that you should consider include the following:
1. Colonoscopy – This test is usually conducted to detect or rule out any possibilities of colon cancer. Colonoscopy is done while the patient is sedated. The physician will use a colonscope into the anus to take a look at the entire colon. Before you undergo this test, you need to cleanse out your colon. With that, the doctor will prescribe laxatives for you to take.
2. Anoscopy – Anoscopy is an examination in the lower rectum and anus area. Sedation is not needed here because the test can be done in the clinic of the physician.
3. Flexible sigmoidoscopy – This screening test involves examination of the large intestine to determine the presence of colon polyps. Flexible sigmoidoscopy will only take about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Rectal examination – There are certain cases wherein the physician can instantly see the cause of rectal bleeding through simple examination as this. If there are any hemorrhoids, anal tears or fissures, it can be easily seen during rectal examination.
Going to a general physician or a family medicine doctor is the first step that you should consider. The family physician will conduct a physical examination, take your medical history, and do the necessary recommendations to a specialist who can understand your health condition better.
Possible treatment options
Treatment for rectal bleeding varies. For example, if your physician tells you that the cause of rectal bleeding is due to constipation. Then you can do the needed lifestyle changes such as drinking plenty of water, taking in more fiber, drinking laxatives to soften the stools, exercising, and cleaning the skin around the anus everyday. But in worse cases, sometimes surgery is needed to be performed to lessen the pain on the part of the patient.
Blood in your stool should not be ignored rather it should be addressed immediately. If you see blood in your stool, do not hesitate to pay a visit to a physician so that it can be properly diagnosed.