Book Appointment Call Now
Haematochezia, blood in stool, blood in stool treatment

Reasons and Treatment for Blood in Stool

Haematochezia is characterised by the passage of fresh, bright red blood in the stools. It is a result of bleeding in the colon, which is located close to the anus.

In some cases, the blood may appear dark red or maroonish, which indicates bleeding in the higher colon. Alternatively, bleeding in the stomach could result in black, tarry stools, which are called melena. Occult bleeding is not visible to the naked eye and requires testing.

Regardless of the colour, the blood may either be mixed with the stools or flow separately.

Haematochezia also causes or is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the rectal region
  • Diarrhoea
  • Change or disruption in bowel habits
  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fainting or confusion

Normally, blood in stool are symptoms rather than a condition by itself. Thus, bleeding in stools could be an indication of an underlying condition or problem and must be taken seriously.

Possible Reasons for Bleeding in Stool

Typically, blood in stools indicates bleeding in the digestive tract. However, when you delve deeper into what does blood in stool indicate, the following reasons for blood in stools come to light:

Diverticular Disease

Although the prevalence of diverticulitis in India is 1-3%, it could be the reason behind abdominal pain and bleeding. Diverticula are small pouches that form on the colon wall. The formation and excessive growth of the diverticula up to several centimetres cause diverticulosis. The infection of these overgrown diverticula causes diverticulitis.

Ischemic Colitis

Ischemic colitis often affects the elderly and is caused by inadequate blood flow to the colon. In addition to blood in stools, ischemic colitis also exhibits symptoms of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Thus, if you experience no constipation but blood in stools, you may have ischemic colitis.

False Alarm

If you experience blood in stool but no pain, it is possible that the pigments in foods consumed have resulted in red-coloured stools, which may be mistaken for blood.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the bowels. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most prevalent forms of IBD.

Cancer

Blood in stools could also be an indication of colorectal cancer. Polyps, which are benign tumours that eventually grow and become cancerous, can also cause bleeding in the stools.

Today, we will discuss at-length the commonest blood in stool causes, namely, piles and fissures.

Piles

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are characterised by inflamed blood vessels, muscles, support tissue, and elastic fibres in the anus and rectum.

These could be internal or external and are categorised from Grade I to IV.

Cause

Piles are a result of increased pressure to the lower rectum. The stretching of the rectum could be a result of:

  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining while pooping
  • Lifting heavy loads

Symptoms

Anybody suffering from piles may display the following symptoms:

  • The area around the anus appears sore, red, and itchy.
  • Bowels may feel full even after a regular bowel movement.
  • Bright red blood flow after passing stools.
  • Intense pain while passing stools.
  • A hard, lump-like formation around the anus.
  • On some occasions, it may contain coagulated blood (thrombosed external haemorrhoids).

Diagnosis

A doctor can diagnose piles upon a physical examination of the anus. In the case of internal piles, the doctor may use a proctoscope or perform a DRE (digital rectal examination).

Treatment

The piles-related blood in stool treatment include:

  • Dietary and lifestyle changes, which include consuming high-fibre foods and losing weight
  • Application of ice packs or cold compresses
  • OTC pain killers in the form of ointments and tablets to calm the swelling around the anus
  • Corticosteroid dosage to bring down the pain and inflammation
  • Laxatives to promote regular bowel movement
  • Surgical techniques like banding, sclerotherapy, infrared coagulation, haemorrhoid stapling, and haemorrhoidectomy

Prevention

The chances of developing piles decrease when the stools are soft. To achieve this, you may have to:

  • Eat high-fibre foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid straining while passing stools.
  • Attend nature’s call in the first ring as stalling the motion will result in drier stools
  • Indulge in physical activities to take the stress off the anus caused by sitting constantly
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

Fissure

Anal fissures are a tear in the anal lining. The cut in the skin caused by hard stools that come with blood flow and severe pain after every bowel movement.

It may take the body about 4-6 weeks to recover from an anal fissure. On the other hand, severe cases may result in the exposure of the muscle tissues present underneath.

Cause

Anal fissures are normally caused due to the passage of large or hard stools. Other causes include:

  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Straining during bowel movements or childbirth
  • A decrease in blood flow to the anorectal region
  • Extremely tight or spastic sphincter muscles
  • Anal sex
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, anal cancer, HIV, syphilis, tuberculosis, herpes, etc.

Symptom

Symptoms of anal fissures include:

  • Tearing of the skin around the anus
  • Small lump or skin tag near the tear
  • Sharp pain around the anus while passing stools
  • Blood streaks in stools
  • Burning or itching sensation in the anorectal area

Diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose anal fissures through physical examination. In some cases, they may require a rectal exam with an anoscope.

Treatment

Here’s how to cure blood in stools caused due to anal fissures:

  • Consuming OTC stool softeners
  • Eating fibre-rich foods or taking fibre supplements
  • Drinking more liquids
  • Taking a sitz bath
  • Applying hydrocortisone creams or topical pain relievers to the anorectal region

Prevention

While it cannot always be possible to prevent an anal fissure, one can reduce the risk through the following measures:

  • Keeping the anal region clean and dry
  • Cleaning the area with mild, unperfumed soap and warm water
  • Lifestyle changes with respect to exercising, drinking a lot of fluids, and eating fibre-loaded foods
  • Treating diarrhoea immediately
  • Frequently changing a child’s diaper

Final Thoughts

Bleeding, constipation/diarrhoea, and pain after bowel movements could be an indication of a disease in the GI tract. The reasons behind it could vary from dietary or lifestyle changes to cancer.

If you notice blood in your stools, consult a physician immediately rather than ignoring the problem.

Consult a doctor for blood in stools now!

Dr Mayank Madan
Author: Dr Mayank Madan
Dr Mayank Madan is an expert surgeon specializing in laparoscopic procedures, CBD exploration, TEP/TAPP hernia repair. He has over 19 years of experience across some of the most prestigious medical institutions across the country. He is also one of the most preferred surgeons to perform bariatric procedures such as sleeve gastrectomies and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. His areas of interest include bariatric & metabolic surgeries, laparoscopic colo-rectal, hernia repair & hepatobiliary surgeries and GI surgeries.
 
BOOK A TOUR