If you notice blood in the stool or the toilet bowl, it could be a case of rectal bleeding. There are many reasons why rectal bleeding can occur, the most common one being haemorrhoids. If the rectal bleeding is not significant then it is not a cause for concern. But if you lose a lot of blood then it can be a major problem.
What are the signs?
The most obvious one, in this case, is the presence of blood in your stool. But it's not just the presence of blood that is important here, the colour of the blood is also a very important indicator of what is wrong.
Black colour indicates that you are bleeding from the upper region of the small intestine
A bright red colour is an indication of the blood loss from the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract – rectum or colon
Dark red indicates that the bleeding is taking place at the initial region of the colon
Some other symptoms you may experience are –
Causes of rectal bleeding
Causes of rectal bleeding can be divided into mild and serious.
Mild causes –
Small tears in the anal lining (anal fissures)
Small growths of tissue in the rectum or colon
Serious causes –
Cancer of the colon and anus
An infection of the intestine such as salmonella
How is it treated?
If you lose a lot of blood, then it is a medical emergency. You should rush to the doctor if you experience the following – fainting, intense pain in the stomach, confusion, and rapid breathing.
The doctor will prescribe treatment based on the cause of your rectal bleeding. For example, if the cause is haemorrhoids then warm baths will help soothe the pain. If the haemorrhoids are large then invasive methods such as laser treatments and surgery are prescribed.
Or if it is constipation then stool softeners are a good option. In addition, you may have to eat a high fibre diet and exercise regularly to normalize your bowel movements.
Rectal bleeding can be a minor inconvenience or a major problem depending on the cause. So it is best to consult a doctor and seek immediate treatment.