You probably don’t pay much attention when you visit the bathroom unless you spot bright red blood in your stool as you turn to flush. Although panic might be your first instinct, this symptom isn’t always indicative of anything sinister, like cancer.
It is a sign though that something isn’t right within your gastrointestinal system, and in this blog, we’re going to explore the possible reasons and why you should always get things checked out.
There are a number of causes for seeing blood in your stool.
Rectal bleeding is usually noticed as blood on the toilet paper or staining in the toilet bowl, but you may notice streaks of blood in your stool, too. Though it’s often a bright red in color, black, maroon, and tarry-looking stools are also signs that older blood is present. The darker the blood is, the higher up in the GI tract the bleeding has occurred, a stomach ulcer or a tear in the esophagus from violently vomiting, for example.
When the blood is bright red, then we know it’s come from the small or large intestines, rectum or anus, and this can be a symptom of abdominal disorders such as diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease, to anal fissures, hemorrhoids and, sometimes, cancer.
The only way to know for sure what’s causing the blood in your stool is to visit us at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists for evaluation.
Rectal bleeding is an early symptom of colorectal cancer.
As many as 74% of individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer experienced rectal bleeding as one of their symptoms, yet many Americans ignore the bright red blood in their toilet bowl and don’t visit a medical practitioner for evaluation.
As gastrointestinal specialists, we understand that toilet habits are difficult to discuss and that the fear of cancer is something you’d rather push to the back of your mind, but in many cases, the cause of bleeding is actually a benign condition, such as:
- anal fissures
- a foreign body causing trauma
- inflammatory bowel disease
These are all conditions that we can treat. We can either remove or manage the symptoms to not only stop the bleeding, but also to improve your quality of life by restoring your digestive system to optimal health.
We use a range of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your rectal bleeding.
A thorough evaluation is vital in correctly diagnosing the cause of that blood in your stool and creating the right treatment plan to stop the bleeding and any other symptoms you may be experiencing.
We’ll have a full and frank conversation with you about your concerns and symptoms. It is important that you’re able to explain, in as much detail as you can, the blood you’ve spotted so that we can make a thorough evaluation. We will conduct a rectal exam, but promise to be as quick and gentle as we can.
If we can’t pinpoint the cause of the bleeding from that, we will carry out additional tests such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy, a barium X-ray, or a capsule endoscopy, which will allow us to see inside your digestive system and establish what’s going on from those results.
We’ll create a treatment plan that not only looks at resolving the causes of the bleeding and managing any condition with which you may be diagnosed, but we’ll also look at any preventive measures we can make to prevent digestive issues from happening again.
Book an appointment with us now at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists for your evaluation or simply to have a conversation about any symptoms that may be bothering you by completing our online form today.