Blood in stool: Why it happens, when should you worry and what to do

Blood in stool can be because of various reasons such as anal fissures as well as Hemorrhoids. Read on to understand why your stool is bloody.
A woman sitting on the toilet seat
Blood in stool can be caused dur to constipation. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 19 Dec 2023, 05:00 pm IST
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Blood in stool can make you worried for obvious reasons. Seeing unusual streaks of blood on your toilet paper as you wipe can be very alarming. There are a number of reasons that could lead to these conditions, but most of these can be resolved with simple lifestyle changes.

Generally, blood in stool happens due to bleeding in gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Health Shots got in touch with Dr Prabhakar B of Aster Whitefield Hospital, who told us about the reasons for why bloody stools happen and how we can avoid them.

What causes blood in stool?

Bleeding during bowel movements can result from various conditions. Dr Prabhakar elaborates these:

1. Hemorrhoids (piles)

Hemorrhoids, which is a condition where the veins swell up in the anus, often results in bloody stools. This happens in the rectum as well as the outer part of the anus. This condition also leads to itching and pain.

A woman experiencing stomach ache
Fix your constipation problems with home remedies. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Fissures in the anus

Fissures are generally tears in the anus. This happens when a person strains to pass stool dur to constipation. This can also be caused due to diarrhea, large stools, anal sex and the birth of a baby. The pain is severe while passing stools and results in spasms.

3. Anal and colonic cancers

These conditions lead to bright red blood while passing stool. This indicates that there is bleeding in the rectum and the colon.

4. Other infections and conditions

Polyps, and infections like Colitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and tuberculosis of the intestine can also lead to blood in stools.

Also Read: Eating too many burgers and pizzas? You may be increasing your risk of colon cancer

What happens when you can wipe blood, but cannot see it?

There are times when you can see blood in the toilet paper, but cannot understand where this blood is coming from. Explaining this situation, Dr Prabhakar says, “This condition occurs when there is a cut in the anus due to constipation, leading to a fissure in the anus, or trauma caused by a forceful jet of water from a faucet. It can also be secondary to worm infestation.”

When do you need to go to the doctor?

Well, while you may not want to rush to the doctor at the right sight of blood, do keep in mind that any prolonged pain or blood in stools needs to be checked out. “Any persisting bleeding or pain around the anus, especially when accompanied by pus discharge, irregular bowel movements, increased frequency, or constipation, should be promptly consulted with and evaluated by a general surgeon,” says Dr Prabhakar.

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Also, self-diagnosis is not recommended. It is best to consult a general surgeon promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What does it mean when you have bright red blood in stool?

Bright red blood in the stool indicates fresh bleeding, usually from the anus. “The common causes include hemorrhoids, fissures, and, in some cases, cancer. Immediate consultation with a healthcare professional is advisable for proper diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr Prabhakar.

What is the treatment for blood in stool?

Well, this cannot be resolved at home, and needs professional help. A healthcare professional will take a thorough history, conduct an examination using a proctoscope, and may recommend a colonoscopy to examine the colon. “Initial treatment may involve medications for conditions like piles, fissures, and infections. Surgical intervention might be necessary if conservative measures fail,” he says.

How to prevent blood in stool?

There are basic lifestyle changes that can be made to ensure that you don’t have bloody stools.

a balanced meal
Having a balanced meal can help reduce the chance of bloody stools. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial for preventing blood in the stool. So it is important to eat a healthy diet, workout well, sleep on time.

2. Avoid constipation

To prevent bloody stools and also to treat them, it is very important to keep constipation at bay. Consuming a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables, staying hydrated helps the most.

3. Avoiding straining during bowel movements

It is important to not strain while passing stool. This can often make your condition worse. Also make sure to not sit for extended periods on the toilet seat.

4. Go to the doctor

Early consultation with a doctor is key in preventing potential complications. As soon as you feel that the condition can get serious, it is important to consider going to the doctor to understand the cause.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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