- Bloody stool:
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Blood in the stool is an abnormal, potentially critical condition, in which there is blood mixed in with the bowel movement or feces. Blood in the stool is also called bloody stool or melana and is often a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Blood in the stool is sometimes accompanied by frank bleeding from the rectum or rectal bleeding. Having blood in the stool can be the result of a wide variety of conditions, such as hemorrhoids, diverticula, inflammatory bowel disease, rectal prolapse, colorectal cancer, rectal abscesses, intestinal infections, peptic ulcer, intestinal polyps, constipation or anal fissures. For more details about causes, see causes of blood in the stool.
Blood in the stool can indicate a relatively mild condition, such as hemorrhoids, or blood in the stool can accompany a serious, even life-threatening condition, such as esophageal varices or colorectal cancer.
Having blood in the stool can appear in a variety of forms. There may be small amounts of bright red blood that is mixed inside the stool or that shows up on toilet paper after wiping the anus. Visible blood clots can also be present with blood in the stool.
Another type of blood in the stool occurs when there is blacken blood mixed in with stool. Stools may appear black and tarry, or maroon in color. Blood in the stool may also be in such small quantities that it cannot be seen by the naked eye. This is called fecal occult blood, which may indicate a serious condition.
There are many symptoms that can accompany blood in the stool, depending on the cause of the bleeding. Symptoms often involve the gastrointestinal system but can affect body systems as well. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, vomiting, rectal pain and diarrhea. Left untreated chronic and ongoing blood in the stool can lead to severe blood loss over time (anemia). Symptoms of anemia can include weakness, dizziness, hypotension, fainting and shortness of breath. Blood in the stool may also occur without other noticeable symptoms.
Diagnosing the cause of blood in the stool begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A digital rectal examination and testing for fecal occult blood are generally performed at this time. A digital rectal examination involves inserting a finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities, such as hemorrhoids, and obtain a sample of stool.
The stool sample is then tested for fecal occult blood, which can indicate invisible, hidden blood in the stool. Your health care provider may also examine the rectum using a lighted instrument called an anoscope. An anoscpoe is inserted a short way into the rectum to look for causes of having blood in the stool.
A blood test commonly performed for blood in the stool is a complete blood count (CBC). A complete blood count can determine if having blood in the stool has lead to significant blood loss and a decreased number of red blood cells (anemia).
Making a diagnosis of blood in the stool may also include performing special imaging tests to see a picture of the insides of the gastrointestinal tract. These may consist of some combination of tests, such as a barium X-ray, CT scan, MRI, and a variety of tests using video imaging technology. These include sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy involve passing a small flexible tube fitted with a camera through the anus into the colon to look for abnormal areas and sites of bleeding. During this procedure, samples of tissue may be taken to be tested to confirm a diagnosis. The upper areas of the gastrointestinal tract can be examined in a similar way through the mouth and esophagus in an endoscopy procedure.
A diagnosis of blood in the stool and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because tiny amounts of blood may not be noticeable for long periods of time. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of blood in the stool.
Treatment of blood in the stool varies greatly depending on the underlying cause and a variety of other factors. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated, while other may require intensive treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of blood in the stool....more »
Bloody stool: Blood in the stool may be a sign of rectal bleeding or gastrointestinal bleeding. Certain conditions may lead to bloody diarrhea. Any bleeding symptom needs prompt professional medical advice....more »
Having blood in the stool is a symptom of many different conditions, so a thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause. Even if blood in the stool appears to be caused by easily visible and obvious hemorrhoids, some patients may also need a colonoscopy and other testing to ensure that bleeding isn't also coming some a more serious ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Bloody stool.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Bloody stool:
Review the causes of these more specific types of Bloody stool:
Our database lists various combinations of symptoms associated with Bloody stool. Visit the Bloody stool: Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
Treatment plans for blood in the stool are individualized depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition, the presence of coexisting diseases and complications, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors.
The prognosis for people with blood in the stool varies depending on the prognosis of the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Some of ...Bloody stool Treatments
Review further information on Bloody stool Treatments.
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Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Bloody stool. Some of these are listed below :
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Bloody stool as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
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Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Bloody stool:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Bloody stool. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist here.
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Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Bloody stool as a symptom include:
Bleeding in any segment of the GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT from ESOPHAGUS to RECTUM.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
The list of organs typically affected by Bloody stool may include, but is not limited to:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Bloody stool. Of the 406 causes of Bloody stool that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Bloody stool' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Bloody stool or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Bloody stool or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Bloody stool based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Bloody stool, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.
Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :
GI bleeding, Gastrointestinal haemorrhage, Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, Hematochezia, Melaena, Melena, PR bleeding, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Anal haemorrhage, BRBPR, Bleeding per rectum, Blood in faeces, Blood loss from GI tract
- (Source - Diseases Database)
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