Misdiagnosis of Blood in the Stool
Misdiagnosis of Blood in the Stool
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 condition farther up the gastrointestinal tract, such an colorectal cancer.
A diagnosis of having blood in the stool can be delayed because tiny amounts of blood may be hidden in the stool and not visible to the naked eye. This type of blood loss can happen unnoticed for long periods of time and the first symptoms to be noticed may be those of excessive blood loss or anemia. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, dizziness, hypotension and paleness. In addition, embarrassment, shame, or fear may delay or discourage a person from seeking medical care.
It is important to understand that having blood in the stool is never normal and that even small amounts of blood in the stool should always be evaluated promptly by a licensed health care professional. Frank rectal bleeding and moderate to heavy blood in the stool may be a medical emergency and should be evaluated immediately....more about Blood in the Stool »
Blood in the Stool: Medical Mistakes
Related medical mistakes may include:
Blood in the Stool: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:
Common Misdiagnoses and Blood in the Stool
Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder
called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed.
Women with the condition tend to have heavy periods, since they actually have a bleeding disorder.
Severe afflictions may result in the women receiving a hysterectomy unnecessarily, when the
underlying cause has not been identified.
See the introduction to Von Willebrand's disease and bleeding disorder.
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other
causes that are less known may be overlooked or misdiagnosed: celiac disease,
Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (both are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)),
diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic diarrhea.
Other possibilities include giardia, colon cancer, or other chronic infections.
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance.
The digestive system contains a variety of "good" bacteria that aid digestion,
and they can decline for various reasons,
leading to digestive symptoms such as diarrhea.
The main treatment is to eat foods containing probiotics, typically yoghurt cultures.
See intestinal imbalance and probiotics.
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut.
This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good"
bacteria in the digestive system.
The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures
containing more of the good bacteria.
See digestive imbalance and probiotics.
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. infectious diarrhea), that has been caught
from another person.
Such conditions may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route.
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect).
One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis
to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis.
Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of
celiac disease). A variety of other chronic digestive disorders tend to be diagnosed
rather than this condition.
See introduction to celiac disease or misdiagnosis of celiac disease.
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD.
Other sometimes overlooked possibilities include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic appendicitis,
Celiac disease, Carcinoid syndrome, gastroparesis, and others. See all types of chronic digestive diseases.
Blood in the Stool: Rare Types
Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:
General Misdiagnosis Articles
Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.
When checking for a misdiagnosis of Blood in the Stool
or confirming a diagnosis of Blood in the Stool,
it is useful to consider what other
medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative
conditions relevant to diagnosis.
These alternate diagnoses of Blood in the Stool may already have
been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible
alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Blood in the Stool.
For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases,
see Overview of Misdiagnosis.