When you notice blood in the stool, it is almost normal for you to worry about it. It is also a great source of concern for those who suffer from it since it is a bleeding which implies an injury in your digestive tract. In most cases, the blood can come from an injury to the rectum, anus, or colon. But should you panic? What should you do ? Depending on the course of the illness and the sensations, you can already consult a doctor for specific treatment. To help you better understand this problem and even anticipate it, you will find all the useful information here.
BLOOD IN THE STOOL: PRESENTATION AND MAIN CHARACTERISTICS
The blood that you can find in the stool is undigested blood that comes from the anus. Bright red in color, it reflects a hemorrhage in the digestive system and is also called rectorragie. By extension, this ailment can refer to red bleeding that comes from the anal area or the colon. If you notice black blood in your stool instead, it is fecal occult or black stool. It is digested blood that mixes with the stool and gives off a foul odor. This bleeding comes from a hemorrhage upstream of the right angle of the colon. The first way to avoid this problem is to adopt healthy eating habit, especially when you exercise regularly. In this sense, consult this site, specialized in sports nutrition to adapt your diet to your activities.
Rectal bleeding remains a disease that affects all people, regardless of age. However, blood in the stool is still common in older people, mainly men. Usually, it occurs after a bowel movement, and may or may not be recurrent. Rectal bleeding is distinguished by small or heavy bleeding depending on the cause. In the first case, the blood may even remain invisible to the naked eye (this is sometimes a sign of colon cancer). But in the second case, the rectal bleeding can lead to blood loss which will necessarily require urgent care.
THE MAIN SYMPTOMS OF RECTAL BLEEDING
How do you know you are suffering from rectal bleeding? Other than the bleeding that you will notice in the blood in the stool, there is not really a sign of this ailment. However, certain symptoms can alert you to the presence of the pathology and its evolution.
SYMPTOMS CHARACTERISTICS OF BLOOD IN THE STOOL
The first thing to know is that in some cases people with blood in their stools may not notice it immediately and may not notice a symptom. However, others may experience pain or discomfort such as: abdominal pain, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, palpitations, fainting and weight loss depending on the cause. the location, length and severity of the bleeding. Rectal bleeding may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Anal pain;
- Anal pruritus (itching);
- Digestive pain;
- Diarrhea or constipation;
- Anemia or pallor;
- Fever ;
- A deterioration of the general condition.
THE EVOLUTION AND POSSIBLE COMPLICATION OF THE DISEASE
As mentioned above, you may not immediately notice blood in the stool due to the small amount. However, if you notice the slightest trace or if you notice any of the distinguishing marks, you must take the necessary measures quickly. Indeed, rectal bleeding is not a symptom to be overlooked. Even minimal, it can very quickly evolve and lead to potentially serious pathologies. In some cases, it can cause chronic anemia, at the risk of putting your life at risk. So, to avoid complications, we strongly recommend that you consult a doctor quickly in order to know the correct attitude.The professional will ask you in particular to carry out examinations necessary for the diagnosis to determine the cause of the disease and the appropriate treatments.
BLOOD IN THE STOOL: WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
In 95% of cases, the presence of red blood in the stool (rectal bleeding ) is caused by bleeding from the colon, rectum or anus. It can have very diverse origins.
Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding. The bleeding is then bright red, painless, sometimes quite profuse, and follows a bowel movement. It spatters the toilet bowl or stains the toilet paper and goes away after a few minutes.
Anal fissure is common in cases of bowel habits ( constipation chronic and rarely diarrhea). It causes minimal rectal bleeding (a little red blood is visible on the toilet paper). They are associated with pain when passing stools.
Scratching lesions of the anus
A yeast infection, contact eczema, or psoriasis causes itching (anal pruritus) responsible for scratching lesions of the anus that bleed easily. Of low abundance, the red blood is found on the wiping paper.
Ulcerations of the rectum from trauma
Bleeding is often due to repeated rectal temperature measurement and then occurs immediately after using the thermometer.
Other traumas can be involved: sexual trauma, gunshot or stab wound, accident …
A tumor of the anus, rectum or colon
Whether they are benign like polyps or malignant in the case of colorectal cancer, tumors are responsible for bleeding, sometimes invisible to the eye. Blood may also be mixed with the stool, associated with phlegm, or appear in isolation, outside the defecation.
Tumors of the anus cause repeated bleeding, but of little importance.
Inflammatory disease of the colon or rectum
The presence of red blood in the stool may be due to:
- chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially ulcerative colitis, more rarely Crohn’s disease ;
- infectious involvement of the rectum by a sexually transmitted infection ;
- acute infectious diarrhea ( gastroenteritis );
- ischemic colitis in the elderly (the lining of the colon or rectum is inflammatory or even ulcerated: the lesions are due to an interruption in vascularization of the wall of the colon or rectum).
Diverticulosis of the colon
This is an acquired anatomical abnormality of the colon. It is characterized by the presence of colonic diverticula. This disease is often responsible forrectal bleeding important.
Vascular malformations are located in the colon. They are common especially in the elderly and can bleed profusely.
THE MEDICAL CONSULTATION: THE MOST URGENT SOLUTION
To avoid a rapid progression of the disease and to anticipate any complications, the best solution is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if there is not a large amount of blood in the stool, you should not overlook its symptoms. Moreover, rectal bleeding is rarely abundant and is accompanied by general signs such as pallor, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, faintness, etc. As the first action, immediately contact medical emergencies. When you call, to make yourself understood and know the procedure to follow, here are some rules to follow:
- Speak calmly and clearly;
- Provide your phone number, your name and that of the sick person;
- Indicate your exact address (floor, access code, etc.) for possible assistance;
- Describe precisely the symptoms observed, and give the time of onset;
- Do not hang up until you have had all the necessary information.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONSULTATION
For the most serious cases, the doctor will send you emergency services for urgent treatment. This will minimize the risk of complications. On the other hand, for the first symptoms of rectal bleeding, you can simply make an appointment with a competent doctor to perform analyzes. Before the day of the meeting, you will still need to prepare yourself. To this end, here are some signs to analyze to more easily identify the cause of blood in the stool:
- Try to estimate the amount of blood lost (given the impressive and unusual nature of this symptom, some patients tend to overestimate this amount);
- Determine the frequency of bleeding from the anus (with each bowel movement, episodically, especially in case of constipation);
- Check the color of the blood in the stool (bright red or dark);
- Find out when you notice blood (on the paper towel, in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement, or on your underwear outside of any bowel movement);
- For women, make sure the bleeding is coming from the anus and not from your vagina (periods);
- Try to identify other possible associated symptoms (abdominal or rectal pain, constipation, oozing from the anus, loss of appetite, joint signs, etc.);
- Make a list of all the medicines you have taken recently to see which ones might promote bleeding (blood thinners, suppositories or rectal ointments).
FIRST AID APPLIED BY DOCTOR: ASSESSMENT AND ANALYZES
Once at your doctor’s appointment for the appointment, he will first of all try to take note of the various symptoms in order to determine the cause of the bleeding. To begin with, he will ask you about the signs that you have noticed (presence of blood in the stool, bleeding from the anus other than defecation, etc.). Then, he will perform a clinical examination of the anal region by a digital rectal examination. This will allow him to look for the presence of a possible lesion or swelling. After this first phase, depending on the observations, the patient’s age, and the signs presented, the doctor will prescribe a complementary assessment. The latter may consist of the following tests:
- Anoscopy and rectoscopy: these examinations are carried out using a rigid endoscope to observe the anus and the interior of the rectum;
- Rectosigmoidectomy: this test can be performed urgently without anesthesia and makes it possible in particular to examine the sigmoid and the left colon;
- Colonoscopy: the doctor uses this examination when he suspects bleeding from the anus of colonic origin so as not to ignore the existence of another lesion located in the colon;
- Endoscopy: it consists of inserting a flexible endoscope into the rectum and then the colon, in order to visualize their internal walls (this examination requires the patient to be prepared for a few days);
- In case of inconclusive results after these tests, the doctor will recommend further explorations of the digestive tract by CT or MRI .
POSSIBLE TREATMENTS FOR RECTAL BLEEDING
Depending on the cause of the blood in the stool, the treatments to consider differ. In a first step, the doctor will have to locate the lesion with the examinations already listed. A blood test can also help to assess the impact of bleeding on blood composition. In the event of significant blood loss, the patient may be treated in intensive care to perform blood transfusions if necessary. In short, the treatment of rectal bleeding can have multiple phases depending on the origin of the bleeding from the anus.
TREATMENTS TO STOP BLEEDING FROM THE DIGESTIVE TRACT
During the endoscopy performed by the doctor, the latter may observe large lesions in the inner walls of the rectum and colon. In this case, he will have to perform at the same time therapeutic gestures such as:
- Electrocoagulation of an injury to the bleeding digestive tract;
- The installation of clips to stop the rectal bleeding;
- Injection of hemostatic products (in order to stop the bleeding).
CARE TO DIRECTLY TREAT THE CAUSE OF RECTAL BLEEDING
Depending on the main cause of the emission of blood in the stool, different measures are possible. Thus, the doctor can prescribe the following treatments:
- Removal of a lesion (polyp, adenoma, etc.) during proctocoloscopy;
- The elimination of the drug taken in question or the control of the temperature rectally;
- Treatment of anal dermatosis, anal fissure or hemorrhoids;
- Treatment of colorectal or anal cancer;
- Care related to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
- Electrocoagulation in case of angiodysplasias;
- The installation of surgical clips (staples to close a blood vessel) in the event of diverticulosis, or radiological embolization.
HOSPITALIZATION IN CASE OF ABUNDANT RECTAL BLEEDING
In rare cases where the bleeding is heavy, the doctor will require the patient to be hospitalized to compensate for the blood loss by infusions (and if necessary by a blood transfusion). They may also recommend additional tests to assess the impact of bleeding through the anus on the body. Here are some tests to perform:
- A blood test;
- A colonoscopy;
- An esogastroduodenal endoscopy, in the case of suspected upper gastrointestinal bleeding;
- CT angiography (the use of a CT scan that allows you to view blood vessels);
- A digestive arteriography (the exploration of the blood vessels of the digestive system).
In conclusion, you should know that blood in the stool can also occur during pregnancy. Here it is often caused by hemorrhoids (abnormally swollen blood vessels in the rectal area) especially during the last trimester and after childbirth.
In infants, rectal bleeding remains very rare. The most common form is thermometric ulceration due to regular temperature measurement by the rectum with a thermometer.
In children, rectal bleeding is also very rare. At most, he could suffer like the infant from thermometric ulceration or anal fissure. But blood in the stool can also come from rectal polyps caused by rape.