What is Bloody Stool?

Bloody stool is generally an indication that there is a bleed somewhere within the digestive tract (anywhere between the mouth and the rectum). Bleeding can be found after using the bathroom or during what is known as a fecal occult test (a test used to determine the presence of microscopic or invisible blood in feces).

The blood in the stool may vary in color. The color of the stool is typically an indication of where the bleed is occurring: the further up the digestive tract the bleed is, the darker and more vicious the excreted blood becomes. Bloody stool can be a symptom of a serious condition, so if you notice blood after going to the bathroom, you should meet with a physician at DHC so the cause of the bleed can be determined and addressed. 

There are many reasons why you might experience blood in the stool. The causes can vary from common and mild conditions to more severe and rare conditions that require immediate medical attention. Bloody stool and rectal bleeding can be attributed to several conditions, such as:

  • Anal fissures
  • Colitis
  • Conditions of the esophagus
  • Diverticulitis
  • Inflammation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Polyps

What are the Symptoms of Bloody Stool?

The symptoms of bloody stool will depend on what is causing the bleeding. A person with blood in the stool may be unaware of the bleeding or might not experience any symptoms. Most causes of bloody stool are treatable and not serious. However, if you are experiencing blood in the stool, contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation. Some common symptoms include:

  • Feeling rectal pain and/or pressure
  • Seeing bright red blood in or on your stool, underwear, or toilet paper
  • Having stool that’s red, maroon, or black in color
  • Having stool that has a tar-like appearance
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Fainting

How is Bloody Stool Diagnosed?

It is important to determine the cause of bloody stool, as some causes can be serious and require treatment. Providing as much detail as you can about your bleeding will help your doctor determine its origin. For example, a black, tarry stool usually indicates an issue in the upper digestive tract, while a bright red or maroon-colored stool is most often associated with an issue in the lower part of the digestive tract. After completing an in-depth assessment of your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may order one or a combination of the following diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your bleeding:

How is Bloody Stool Treated?

In order to effectively treat bloody stool, the cause of the bleed must first be treated. To stop acute bleeding, an endoscopy may be performed to find the source of the bleed. Treatments may include:

  • An injection of chemicals at the bleeding site
  • Application of a band/clip to stop the bleed
  • Laser treatment of the site
  • Performing an angiography to inject medicines into the blood vessels that control the bleeding

Once the bleeding has stopped, a physician may recommend:

  • Acid-suppressing medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Eating a high-fiber diet
  • Surgery to remove a portion of the colon (if it has been damaged by inflammatory bowel disease or cancer)

Board-Certified Gastroenterologists in New Jersey

At Digestive Healthcare Center, our team of board-certified gastroenterologists is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of digestive health conditions and disorders, including bloody stool. We always use the most advanced technology and minimally-invasive techniques to ensure that patients are met with the highest quality of care. Each of our services will be tailored specifically to you and your needs, so you can feel comfortable and confident in the care you receive at DHC. Learn more about our gastroenterology services below, and contact us to schedule an appointment today! 

Digestive Health Care Centers in Somerset County, NJ

Digestive Healthcare Center is committed to providing patients across New Jersey with comprehensive and compassionate gastroenterology care. Visit us at one of our three office locations in NJ, or schedule a virtual telemedicine visit today! We look forward to helping you live your healthiest and most comfortable life. 

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