Most of us do everything we can to avoid the topic of pooping. And while it doesn’t exactly make for great dinner table conversation, removing the taboo around it is important for health reasons. If you start noticing blood in your poop, you need to be able to discuss it with a doctor to check if it’s something you should be worried about. Blood in your stools is actually a sign of something going wrong internally so it could be serious. Here are five possible reasons why you’re starting to see blood in your poop.
If the blood is a dark, blackish color, it could point to an ulcer in your upper GI tract. Blood turns black when it passes through the stomach because of the stomach acids. Many people believe that stress is the main reason behind an ulcer, but this is far from true. Stress can exacerbate an ulcer, but it can rarely lead to one. Most times, a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori causes an infection which could lead to an ulcer. Smoking and certain medications could also cause an ulcer. Peptic ulcers are fairly common and should clear up quickly with medication and certain lifestyle changes.
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, is one of the most common reasons behind blood in stools. You can usually tell you have hemorrhoids because the blood will be a bright red color. This is usually not serious, but it can be quite painful. When veins in your rectum become swollen, they result in painful, itchy hemorrhoids. Sometimes, you will even be able to feel them on your anus. A doctor can often tell immediately if you have this because they can be visible under examination. With a hemorrhoid cream, hemorrhoid infections usually clear up very soon.
3. Anal Fissures
Anal fissures are also one of the most common causes of blood in stools, albeit one of the most painful as well. These are small tears on the lining of your anus which could result from many factors such as childbirth, constipation or straining. Some people are inherently more prone to anal fissures because their sphincter muscles are tighter. This causes them to strain more and sometimes, develop anal fissures. Anal fissures need to heal on their own, but taking painkillers could help you cope with some of the pain. You can also eat a diet high in fiber and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation in the future.
If you notice blood in your stools along with other symptoms of food poisoning like diarrhea and vomiting, then you could just have gastroenteritis. It might not always result from food poisoning, sometimes an infection from bacteria or a virus could irritate the lining of your intestines. Apart from blood in your stools, if you have gastroenteritis, you will also have loose, runny stools and might be running to the bathroom very frequently. Often times, because you’re going to the bathroom so often, the skin around your anus can tear from irritation and too much wiping. This could also lead to blood in your stools. These symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few days, but you can visit a doctor if you’re in serious discomfort.
5. Colorectal Cancer
Most people start panicking when they see blood in their stools because they immediately think of colorectal cancer. While it’s true that blood in your stools is a symptom of colorectal cancer, the chances of this being the case for you is very slim. This is a cancer which affects your large intestine and your rectum. While it can happen at any age, over 90% of cases are patients who are above 50. Colorectal cancer doesn’t present any visible symptoms at first, but later on, it can result in bloody stools, constipation or diarrhea and tummy aches. Before worrying that it might be colorectal cancer, visit your doctor so he can give you a proper examination. There are many more common causes of blood in your poop, so the chances of it being cancer is very slim.