When you find blood in your stool, your first instinct might be to think the worst. Fortunately, blood in stool is a fairly common occurrence that can stem from several relatively benign conditions. On the other hand, there are a few rare and serious medical conditions that can also cause this symptom. At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, Betsy Clemens, MD, and her team can run a complete diagnosis of your symptoms to determine whether that blood presence requires urgent attention. Call to schedule your consultation or book online.
Most cases of blood in your stool are the result of bleeding somewhere along your intestinal tract. Generally, bleeding that occurs in the higher portion of your intestinal tract produces very dark and tarry blood, whereas bleeding that occurs lower in your intestinal tract produces blood that appears a very bright red or crimson. Here are among the most common causes of bleeding:
Larger hemorrhoids or thrombosed hemorrhoids can rupture as you pass stool, leading to bleeding.
Damage to the tissue near your anus can lead to fissures. These tiny tears are painful and can often result in bleeding.
The small pouches that form in your intestine as the result of diverticular disease can become inflamed or bleed when irritated.
These open sores affect your stomach lining and the lining of your upper duodenum. These sores may bleed, resulting in blood in your stool.
If you’ve noticed the presence of blood in your stool, Dr. Clemens will want to run a few evaluations to verify the presence of blood and identify the possible cause. Typical testing can include:
Abbreviated as EGD, this procedure allows Dr. Clemens to use an endoscope to observe the appearance of your stomach and duodenum.
A fecal occult blood test can check for blood undetectable to the naked eye.
Swallowing a barium solution allows your digestive tract to show up much more clearly on subsequent X-rays. This can help detect polyps or other abnormalities.
This test is similar in nature to the EGD, though Dr. Clemens uses the endoscope to observe your colon.
How Dr. Clemens treats instances of blood in your stool entirely depends on the underlying cause of your bleeding. For relatively simple causes, such as fissures or hemorrhoids, home care and a few lifestyle changes can provide strong results.
Bleeding caused by more serious concerns such as polyps, irritable bowel syndrome, or cancer require extensive treatment of that condition for your bleeding to resolve. For medical conditions outside of Dr. Clemens’ expertise, she’ll direct you to the appropriate expert provider for your care.
If you’re experiencing regular bouts of blood in your stool, don’t put off seeking medical expertise. Call Dr. Clemens and her team at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center to schedule your consultation or book your appointment online.