What Conditions Can Cause Bloody Stools?

A woman holding a picture of the digestive tract with bloody stool at the end

What Conditions Can Cause Bloody Stools?

Noticing red blood in a bowel movement is, understandably, alarming and may cause you to be worried about your general wellness. However, bowel movement blood (hematochezia) might not always suggest a serious medical situation. A number of conditions can result in having dark, maroon, or bright red bloody stools.

The gastroenterologists at Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa, Oklahoma treat this concern on a routine basis and can pinpoint the cause of GI bleeding.

What could bloody stools indicate?

Dark or bright red blood in the stool is a sign that bleeding has transpired somewhere within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bleeding may happen in any area of the GI system, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the rectum. In some instances, gastrointestinal bleeding or blood in the stool could be a result of minor GI issues that are easy to manage and can be treated without major care.

But because bloody stools can also be evidence of a number of significant gastrointestinal conditions, it’s very important to consult with a specialized physician as soon as possible to diagnose its source.

What are the causes of blood in the stool?

Though a bloody bowel movement may be totally benign in nature, it can also be a sign of a more significant medical issue that requires professional care.

Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding causes can include:

  1. Colon cancer
  2. Gastric cancer
  3. Crohn’s disease
  4. Ulcerative colitis
  5. Anal fissures
  6. Hemorrhoids

Should I consult a doctor about bloody stools?

Any instances of dark or fresh blood in stools that persist should be evaluated by a gastroenterologist. Professional treatment should be received if the amount of blood in the stool is heavy or when symptoms, such as loose stools, pain in the abdomen, exhaustion, vertigo, or additional issues, also arise.

The GI doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates can conduct a series of tests to learn in what area within the gastrointestinal tract the bleeding is originating. Additionally, they can specify the causes of blood in the stool and decide if further care is required. Routine services utilized to examine the cause of rectal bleeding or red blood in the stool are:

Upper Endoscopy:

The process of an upper endoscopy (also called an upper GI) involves the placement of a long scope equipped with a camera through the mouth and into the intestinal tract. As a diagnostic procedure, it can help detect if the blood in the stool might be coming from an issue impacting the stomach, esophagus, or throat, which comprise the upper portion of the digestive system.

Capsule endoscopy:

During this diagnostic procedure, a tiny capsule that houses a wireless camera is swallowed, similar to an oral pill. The small camera takes and transmits images of the digestive system as it is carried through the upper GI tract and the small intestine.

Fecal tests (stool cultures):

These types of lab tests can pick up on the presence of hidden (occult) blood in the stool, which can be an indicator of colon cancer or other GI health issues.

Colonoscopy:

In the course of this procedure, a long, flexible device fitted with a video camera is utilized to convey a live image of the lining of the colon (large intestine). GI specialists may perform this procedure to identify conditions or growths within the rectum or large intestine that may be contributing to bloody stools or rectal bleeding. Colon polyps can also be addressed throughout the course of a colonoscopy, which may aid in decreasing the possibility of colon cancer over time.

Specialty gastrointestinal care in Tulsa

Digestive health is a very important part of your general health and wellness. If you notice any indication of blood in your stool after having a bowel movement, it’s critical to see a GI doctor to have the cause diagnosed and to help improve your health.

Get in touch with Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa today to set up an appointment with a skilled gastrointestinal specialist.

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