I have blood in the stool, is it serious?


I have blood in the stool, is it serious?:  The presence of blood in the stool is a worrying symptom. Is it serious and how to react? To put in place a suitable treatment, a medical consultation is necessary. The point with Marine Morris, a general practitioner in Nantes.

I have blood in the stool, is it serious?
I have blood in the stool, is it serious?

The appearance of bleeding

The color of the bleeding is important for the doctor, as it helps to direct the diagnosis. If the bleeding is red (called rectorage), they are linked to a hemorrhage of the lower part of the digestive tract (rectum, colon …). If they are black or dark (we speak of melena, which is digested blood with a very unpleasant odor), they result from a hemorrhage of the upper part of the digestive tract. In cases of small hemorrhage, several causes can be found: hemorrhoids (the most frequent), proctitis (inflammation of the rectal mucosa ) or anal fissure related to constipation.

The time or the manner in which the bleeding occurs is also good indicators: when the blood appears at the end of the stool or only on paper, it is rather a typical hemorrhoidal local cause. Blood mixed with the stool is rather a sign of bleeding of digestive origin which can be high or low (rectories and melena can be mixed with the stools).

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When to consult? What treatments?

If you find blood in your stool, it is essential to consult your doctor without delay, to set up a treatment and to eliminate more serious illnesses.

Cream to be applied, painkillers and a proper diet are sufficient to overcome it. In the case of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, appropriate treatment, and close monitoring are required over the long term. In the case of high hemorrhage, several causes can be found: esophageal varies, medicated ulcer, gastric erosion or gastric tumor … Treatments depend on the disease.

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What if it was cancer?

The presence of pain in the stomach and small bleeding repeated in the stools, which is dark in color, may be a sign of colorectal cancer, although sometimes the latter may be invisible to the naked eye, the amount of Blood in the stool is not necessarily related to the severity of the disease. These signals remain relevant, especially as we grow older: as we age, there is more risk that bleeding is related to the presence of a tumor than in young people.

Beginning at age 50, it is advisable to be tested every two years, sooner if there is a family history. This screening is carried out by an entirely painless home test (formerly Hemoccult), which consists of analyzing stool samples. The colonoscopy can also be used.

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