Streaks of blood in stool: Should you worry?: The blood in the stool may be red, brown and beige, black and tarry or occult (not visible to the naked eye).
The causes of blood in the stool range from harmless disorders of the gastrointestinal tract such as hemorrhoids to serious diseases such as colon cancer.
Streaks of blood in stool: Type of rectal bleeding
There are two possible sources of blood in the stool: the upper digestive tract (stomach and intestine hail) and the lower gastrointestinal tract (colon, rectum, and anus).
Hemorrhage of the top gastrointestinal tract usually causes black tarry stools.
Bleeding in the lower digestive tract is usually seen because stools are coated or mixed with bright red blood.
Some foods and medications can cause blood in the stool.
However, it is not always possible to know the origin or type of rectal bleeding by stool appearance.
Sometimes the amount of blood is small and can be seen only on toilet paper.
A physical examination and assessment by the doctor are necessary in most cases.
Sometimes, hemorrhages in the gastrointestinal tract may be too slow to cause rectal bleeding.
In these patients, the bleeding is occult (not visible to the naked eye). Blood is found only through stool analysis (fecal occult blood test) in the laboratory.
Occult bleeding has many causes similar to rectal bleeding and can cause the same symptoms. They have often associated anemia that is due to the loss of iron in the blood (iron deficiency anemia or iron deficiency anemia).
Causes of blood in stool
Possible causes of blood in the stool are:
Diverticulitis. The diverticula are small pockets that form in the wall of the colon. Diverticula usually do not cause problems, but sometimes they can bleed or become infected.
Fanal issues. This is a small cut or tear in the mucous membrane of the anus wall, similar to the cracks that occur in the chapped lips. Anal fissures are often caused by large, hard stools that can cause pain during defecation.
Colite or inflammation of the colon. Among the most common causes are infections or inflammatory bowel diseases.
Angiodysplasie. A disease in which abnormal and fragile blood vessels cause bleeding.
Peptic ulcers. An open wound in the inner wall of the stomach or duodenum, the upper end of the small intestine.
Many peptic ulcers are caused by the infection of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. The long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can cause ulcers.
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and intestine that the immune system usually resolves within a few days. It can cause diarrhea with traces of blood and mucus, in addition to symptoms such as stomach cramps and vomiting.
Polyps or cancer.
Polyps are benign outgrowths that can develop, bleed and become cancerous.
They often cause bleeding that is not visible to the naked eye.
Problems esophagus. Varicose veins (varicose veins) of the esophagus or tears in the esophagus can cause a significant loss of blood.
Trauma or foreign body
Vascular malformation (abnormal structures of blood vessels called arteriovenous malformations) This disease can also cause diarrhea with blood in the stool.
What causes blood in the stool during pregnancy?
Usually, rectal bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids, which are the blood vessels in the rectum that grow and ignite. Hemorrhoids are relatively common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester and within weeks after giving birth. If the veins have been torn during defecation, if the stool is hard or if you rub too much energy when wiping with toilet paper, these swollen veins may bleed.
Anal fissures are another cause of rectal bleeding. Defecation of hard stools can cause These painful lesions of the anus skin due to constipation, which is common during pregnancy.
We recommend reading the article: 8 ways to get rid of hemorrhoids during pregnancy
Blood in the stool in children
Anal issues – Anal fissures can occur in all age groups, from infants to children who go to school, or in the elderly.
Symptoms of anal fissures are pain and bright red blood in the stool or on the toilet paper.
Intolerance to milk or soy protein, also known as allergy name milk, induced enterocolitis milk or proctolite, is a disease that affects infants.
It can also occur in children who drink breast milk if the mother drinks milk or soy products.
Protein intolerance usually resolves at the age of 1 year. Symptoms of milk or soy protein intolerance include vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to blood in stool or blood-dyed excreta.
Therapy is a milk-free diet.
Less common causes
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, also known as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, are diseases that cause inflammation of the intestinal wall. Inflammation causes symptoms such as blood in the stool, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Infectious diarrhea is caused by a virus, bacterium or parasite that can cause blood in the stool in children in preschool and school age.
Infectious diarrhea can develop after consumption of contaminated food and drink, or after a course of antibiotics. Symptoms of infectious diarrhea are usually abdominal pain, fever, and blood in diarrhea.
The juvenile polyps are protuberances that can develop between the ages of two and eight years. Usually, the symptoms are painless rectal bleeding.
Juvenile polyps are not cancerous or pre-cancerous but should be evaluated by a physician and should be removed.
Some other more serious diseases, including intestinal invagination (a form of intestinal occlusion) or Hirschsprung disease or congenital aganglionic megacolon (i.e., a kind of occlusion of the colon that develops before birth because of the absence of certain nerves ), can cause blood in the stool. Occlusion is the medical term for an intestinal blockage.
Most of these illnesses cause immediate harm to the newborn.
Diagnosis of blood in the stool
It is important to consult a doctor to assess blood in the stool. For example, black and tarry stools can be caused by a peptic ulcer or other problem in the upper gastrointestinal tract and may be accompanied by stomach pain. Bright red blood or brown stools usually indicate a problem in the lower digestive tract, such as hemorrhoids or diverticulitis.
After seeing the clinical history and after a physical examination, the doctor may ask for tests to determine the cause of the bleeding.
What examinations must be done:
Endoscopy. It is a process that involves inserting an endoscope into the digestive system, inserting it through the mouth and along the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
The endoscope is a flexible tube with a small camera at the end.
Endoscopy can also be used to collect tissue samples to be analyzed under a microscope (biopsy).
A method in which a device called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum to visualize the colon. As with endoscopy, colonoscopy can also be used to collect tissue samples for biopsy.
A procedure similar to endoscopy and colonoscopy is performed to examine the small intestine. In some cases, it is necessary to swallow a capsule with a small camera that transmits the images to a video monitor as it passes through the digestive tract.
The movement barium.
A procedure that uses a contrast agent called barium to make the digestive tract visible on an x-ray. Barium can be swallowed or inserted into the rectum.
A procedure that involves injecting a special dye into a vein. This substance mainly allows seeing the blood vessels on an X-ray or a scanner.
The procedure detects bleeding because the dye escapes from the blood vessels and accumulates at the location where the bleeding occurs.
A surgical procedure in which the doctor makes small incisions and examines the abdomen. This may be necessary if other tests fail to identify the cause of the bleeding.
Doctors also ask for laboratory tests when there is blood in the stool. These tests can control coagulation problems, anemia and the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection.
Treatment of blood in the stool
Treatment varies depending on the cause and includes medications such as:
- Antibiotics for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori
- Drugs anti-inflammatory to treat colitis,
- A surgical procedure for removing polyps or parts of the colon damaged by cancer, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Among treatments, there are also creams and suppositories for hemorrhoids.
In many cases, however, the treatment consists of simple natural remedies that can be done alone at home.
The remedies can be:
- A diet high in fiber to relieve constipation that can cause or aggravate hemorrhoids or anal fissures;
- Stay in a warm or salt bath to relieve the symptoms of cracks and promote healing.
- Bathing in the sea is an excellent remedy because salt water is therapeutic.
- There are people with few platelets that take a few months for complete healing after a cut or scratch. If these individuals enter the sea water, they accelerate the closure of the lesions and the formation of healthy skin.
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