What GI Conditions Might Lead to Blood in The Stool?
Having blood in your stool is, without question, disturbing and might cause you to be distressed about your digestive health. But bloody stool (hematochezia) may not always suggest a major health condition. Several conditions can result in having red blood in the stool. The gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX routinely address this issue and can determine the source of rectal bleeding or bloody stools in patients of all ages.
What could having bloody stools mean?
A bloody stool indicates that bleeding has transpired at some location within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bleeding could develop in any area of the GI tract, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the rectum. Gastrointestinal bleeding or bloody stools may be caused by minor digestive issues that can be treated simply without major care. But since blood in a bowel movement could also be an indication of a serious health condition or disease, it is essential to see a specialized physician as soon as possible to identify its cause.
What causes bloody stool?
Though hematochezia might be a totally benign symptom, it can also point to a more significant medical issue and should never be ignored. Bloody stool causes can include:
- Cancer of the colon
- Gastric cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Anal fissures
Should I visit a doctor if I have blood in my stool?
When symptoms, like bloody stools, occur more than once, a visit with a gastrointestinal specialist is in order. Proper medical care should be sought if heavy bleeding occurs or additional symptoms, such as diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, dizziness, lethargy, or other problems, also arise. The specialists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas serve patients throughout the Dallas area and may perform a series of tests to locate at what point along the GI system the bleeding is occurring. Additionally, they can identify bloody stool causes and decide whether treatment is required. One or more of the following services may be performed to diagnose the cause of rectal bleeding or bloody stools:
- Stool analysis (fecal tests): These common laboratory tests can pick up on the presence of occult (hidden) blood in a stool sample, which can be evidence of colon cancer or other GI health issues.
- Colonoscopy: In the process of this procedure, a long, flexible device fitted with a medical-grade camera is used to provide a real-time view of the internal portion of the colon (large intestine). GI physicians may recommend this procedure to visualize growths or conditions within the large intestine or rectum that might be the cause of red blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. Colon polyps may also be excised in a colonoscopy procedure, which can aid in lessening the chance of colon cancer over time.
- Upper endoscopy: To perform an upper endoscopy, also called an upper GI, a thin tube housing a tiny camera is passed through the oral cavity and down into the GI tract. As a diagnostic procedure, an upper endoscopy can help determine if blood in the stool may be originating from an issue impacting the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which make up the upper portion of the digestive tract.
- Capsule endoscopy: During a capsule endoscopy, a wireless camera contained within a small capsule is swallowed, in the same way as an oral pill. The small camera captures and transmits photos of the digestive system as it migrates through the upper GI tract and the small intestine.
Specialty care for digestive health in Dallas, TX
GI health is highly important to your overall health, wellness, and quality of life. If you find red blood in your stool after having a bowel movement, it is vital to see a GI specialist to pinpoint the cause and help preserve your health. To schedule a consultation with an experienced gastroenterologist, please contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas in Dallas, TX today.