Any abnormal occurrence in our body is frightening. Most fear of finding a lump on their chest, or feeling difficulty in breathing, or even finding blood in their stool. This instance would send people on a panic attack; some fear of finding out the truth about their illness and decide to keep it to themselves. It is important, however, to stay calm and seek medical attention. Blood in the stool is not at all times a symptom of a life-threatening illness, so it's best to be sure.
While waiting for the results of your examination, educate yourself and learn some of the causes of blood in your stool. Below is a detailed and informative breakdown of these causes, from the common ones to the most sensitive cases.
Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of bloody stools or bleeding from the rectum or anus. Sometimes, varicose veins in the rectal or anal region become swollen, which in turn causes a person much discomfort before, during, and after bowel movement. Hemorrhoids are caused by overeating, constipation, and even an inactive lifestyle. It can also occur at any age, and symptoms could appear on a case-to-case basis, depending on the body’s reaction to the aforementioned causes. However, when symptoms persist after two days, consulting the doctor is a wise step.
Anal fissures, simply defined, is a skin tear on the anal canal which happens when the anal mucosa stretches beyond its capability. In adults, anal fissure is caused by digestive problems such as constipation, difficulty in defecating long, hard stools, diarrhea and anal sex. Childbirth can also cause this in women. If the wound is still new, blood may be secreted due to the pressure of defecating, leaving bright red blood in the stool. Patients will also feel anal pain during bowel movements, but usually subsides in between. Although these fissures self-heal in a matter of weeks, some become deep and chronic, requiring medical attention.
This kind of ulcer is the most common of all types affecting the gastrointestinal tract. As it is acidic, patients suffer from a lot of pain when left untreated. Peptic ulcers occur when the defense mechanisms of the gastrointestinal tract become ineffective, causing acid and enzyme to erode the mucosal wall. The most common symptom of this illness is abdominal pain; however, severe cases cause bleeding in the stomach. A patient can either vomit blood, or have blood in the stool. Such symptoms are grave and necessitates an emergency visit at the hospital.
Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia)
Our blood is composed of red and white blood cells, along with platelets. When the number of platelets in the blood is lower than usual, a patient is suffering from thrombocytopenia. Low platelet count affects our body’s natural defenses against clotting and bleeding, but it is just a symptom for several other illnesses. In severe cases, a person may experience spontaneous bleeding under the mucus membrane, the nasal cavity, and the gastrointestinal tract. Blood in the stool is not uncommon for people with thrombocytopenia. To confirm, a complete blood test must be conducted.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
The gravest of all causes of blood in the stool is cancer. Colon and rectal cancer, or colorectal cancer, is caused when malignant tumors form in the inner wall of the large intestine. When undetected, it can even spread to nearby organs, a process called metastatis. Its symptoms are many, but among them is blood in stools.
If you happen to spot bright red blood in your stool, don't panic. Take a look at the above mentioned illnesses and do further research. Determine if the symptoms described by the medical community fit your experiences. The body is a complex system, and we have to know exactly what we’re dealing with before taking the next step.