Blood in Stool: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Blood or spots in stool also called hematochezia, means that there is bleeding in your digestive tract. Most people become worried when they notice bright red blood in the toilet after defecating. There are actually many reasons for pooping blood and not all of them mean that there is something seriously wrong.

Bloody stool can mean that you have hemorrhoids, colon polyps, anal fissures, or an infection in your stomach or digestive tract. Breaks in the tissue in your colon or anal opening could bleed when you pass out stool.

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Increasing your intake of fiber and fluid can help to soften stool and cause less pressure in your lower intestines. Also, taking warm baths can help to relieve pain and discomfort in your anus that usually accompanies bloody stools.

Although many cases of pooping blood are harmless, but passing stools with blood is not a normal condition. Endeavour to always get it checked out by a doctor. These symptoms can be indicators of internal bleeding or gastric ulcers.

Blood in Stool

Blood in stool usually looks like bright red drops of blood in the toilet bowl or red streaks on stool. Usually, the color of blood in poop depends on the location of the bleeding, and in fact, there is a lot that the color of your stool can tell about your health.

Dr. William Shiel on MedicineNet says that bright red blood in stool is usually a sign that the bleeding is closer to the anus or lower down the gastrointestinal tract at the base of the colon. Stools that look dark or tarry can mean that the bleeding is further up the colon. If you have bleeding in the stomach caused by an ulcer, your stools may appear black and have a foul smell.

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Bleeding in the right side of the colon may result in stool that has a dark maroon or almost black color to it. This is because feces from the right side of the colon take longer to travel through the digestive tract, and the old blood turns black.

Some medical conditions mean that blood can’t be detected in stool with the naked eye, and this is called occult rectal bleeding. Some cases of anal cancer, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or hemorrhoids can result in little rectal bleeding. Usually, the only way to detect occult blood in stool is to send a sample to the lab for testing.

Symptoms of Pooping Blood

For some people, the only sign of blood in stool is noticing bright red blood on toilet paper or drops of blood in the toilet bowl. There is often no pain when passing blood in stool. However, depending on the cause of bleeding you might have other associated symptoms with blood in stool. Other symptoms of blood in poop can include:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort if the rectal bleeding
  • Tenderness in the lower left abdomen
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness if a person is passing a lot of blood in stool
  • Spots of blood on underwear
  • Black tarry stools
  • Maroon colored stools
  • Symptoms of anemia
  • Hemorrhoids that are visible in a rectal examination

10 Common Causes of Blood in Poop

  1. Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a common cause of passing fresh blood in stool with or without pain. Internal hemorrhoids may not cause any pain even when they bleed. External hemorrhoids can cause sudden and severe pain.

Enlarged hemorrhoids can cause anal bleeding when passing stool if the blood vessels in the hemorrhoids break. This will cause bright red blood in the stool or on toilet paper. Hemorrhoids can push through the anus and be seen when attempting to pass out stool. If you have blood in your stool, it’s important to see a doctor for a professional diagnosis.

Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Passing mucus
  • Anal itching
  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Burning sensation in the anus
  • Lump around the anus in the case of external hemorrhoids
  1. Anal fissures

Another reason for passing bright red blood in your stool along with pain and rectal discomfort is anal fissures. Anal fissures are small tears in the skin of the anal canal and can be caused by injury or passing hard stools. This can also be accompanied by anal pain that can last for some time after excreting. Anal fissures are common in people with constipation because of passing hard stools. However, they can also develop in cases of chronic diarrhea. Doctors recommend increasing consumption of dietary fiber and fluid to ease the symptoms of anal fissures and make passing stool less uncomfortable.

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  1. Colon polyps

Polyps are small clumps of cells that can form in the colon and cause stool with red streaks or black tarry stools. Colon polyps often cause rectal bleeding depending on where the polyps are located. In comes cases, polyps cause occult bleeding where the blood in stool can only be detected in a lab test. Colon polyps can lead to symptoms of anemia because the chronic rectal bleeding causes an iron deficiency. To stop rectal bleeding caused by colon polyps, doctors have to remove them via surgery.

  1. Constipation

Constipation can lead to various conditions that result in anal bleeding when passing stool. Straining to pass hard or impacted stool can lead to tears in the colon. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, constipation can be a factor that causes hemorrhoids. Along with the hemorrhoids, constipation can also cause anal fissures, and both of these conditions cause bloody stools with or without pain.

Other symptoms of constipation include:

  • Passing fewer than 3 stools a week
  • Straining to pass stools that are hard and lumpy
  • Feeling as if you can’t fully empty your bowel
  • Leaky anus
  1. Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers is caused by a bacterial infection in your stomach which can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. Peptic ulcers are commonly caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria or by the long-term use of painkillers. Peptic ulcers can cause blood in stools. This can lead to black or bloody stools depending on how fresh the blood is.

  1. Inflammatory bowel disease

Excreting mucus and blood in stool with abdominal pain could be a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammatory bowel disease describes inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Some other indications of inflammatory bowel disease include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  1. Gastritis

Gastritis can be caused by infections, stress, or autoimmune disorder that result in inflammation of your stomach lining and internal bleeding.

The World Journal of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy reports that stomach inflammation caused by bacteria can result in chronic intestinal bleeding. This can cause blood in stool that is difficult to see, or you could have black, tarry stool if there is a lot of bleeding. You may also show signs of anemia due to chronic blood loss.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that other signs of gastritis can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Burning sensation in your upper abdomen after eating
  • Feeling of fullness after eating

If you notice dark red blood in your stool or your stools appear black, you should visit your doctor for a checkup.

  1. Anal fistula

This is another painful condition that can cause you to excrete bloody stools. Anal fistula occurs when a small channel develops between the skin near your anus and the end of your bowel. The result can be painful bowel movements with bloody stools.

You may also suffer from discomfort around the anus that is tender to touch and shows signs of swelling.

Anal fistula doesn’t improve on its own, and surgery is recommended in most cases.

  1. Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is another digestive disorder that can cause you to excrete feces with blood. Diverticulitis happens when small pockets of the colon become infected and inflamed.

According to the journal American Family Physician, diverticulitis can cause you to poop a lot of blood along with your stools. Usually, diverticulitis results in passing bloody stool with no pain. Doctors say that diverticulitis is one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding.

Other symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Chills
  • Fever
  1. Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer can cause occult blood in stools that can be detected in a fecal blood test. According to PubMed Health, stool blood tests can detect internal bleeding that is the result of tumors in the colon. However, inflammation due to non-cancerous conditions is usually the main cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. Changes to your bowel habits that is associated with frequently passing loose stools, rectal bleeding after a bowel movement, or bleeding from your anus without pain should be reported to a doctor.

Treatment for Blood in Stool

The main objective of treating blood in stool naturally is to stop the bleeding and prevent repeated cases of bleeding from the anus after passing out stool.

Increase dietary fiber and fluid intake

Increasing your daily intake of dietary fiber and fluid can help to relieve many of the digestive conditions that lead to rectal bleeding and pooping bloody stools. Fiber can help to relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulitis, and constipation. It is important to note that since fiber draws water into the stool to make it softer, it’s essential to consume enough water or other fluids on a regular basis to help the fiber work.

Drinking cabbage juice for peptic ulcers

You should drink cabbage juice if you have ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining that is causing internal bleeding and bloody stools. According to research, drinking fresh cabbage juice can help to treat peptic ulcers in humans.

Warm bath

To get relief from anal itching, pain, and discomfort that often accompanies rectal bleeding, you can take a warm bath.


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