Blood in bowel movements, on the toilet paper after wiping, or in the toilet bowl water is referred to as rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding is a common problem for people of any age.
There are many different things that could cause rectal bleeding, some more serious than others. The two most common causes are because of anal fissures and hemorrhoids. Either of these problems may be caused by constipation.
Tiny tears, usually less than half an inch long on the skin of the anus are called anal fissures. The opening where the bowel movements pass is the anus. Fissures are caused usually by hard bowel movements. These tear the skin as they pass through the anus.
Swollen veins located in the lower rectum and anus are referred to as hemorrhoids. They maybe see outside the anus or be internal. This means that they are inside the rectum and are not visible without the use of special instruments.
In middle aged and older individuls rectal bleeding may be caused by diverticula in the colon. They are finger like pouches at the weak points in the wall of the colon. When the bowel movements go through these pouches occasionally they will become inflamed and bleed.
The other possible causes of blood being in bowel movements may include an infection in the intestines. In this case the blood in the diarrhea will only last one to three days and then it will be gone. Another cause may be inflammatory bowel disease. This is an irritation of the lining of the colon. This will cause a person to have abdominal pains, diarrhea, and mucus and blood in the bowel movements. Blood in the stewel is also a symptoms of cancer in the colon or rectum. Lastly, there could be bleeding in the upper digestive system. This is a medical emergency and when this happens there is intensive and constant bleeding.
Rectal bleeding appears to be bright red in the the bowel movements. There may or may not be pain with the passing of the bowel movement. If you have external hemrrhoids there may be pain when you sit. If you have diverticula, there may be no symptoms or you may have abdominal pains, but nothing constant. Other times you may have pain with a fever for a day or two if the diverticula become inflamed or infected.
If the bleeding is caused by colon cancer, it may be the only symptom, or you may have other symptoms that include diarrhe, constipation, abdominal pain, weight loss, loss of appetite, and tiredness. Colon cancer is not a common cause of rectal bleeding, however it is more common for colon cancer to cause blood to be in the bowel movements. In this case the blood may not be visibe. There are special tests that may be performed to show that there is blood present in the stool.
If you find that you have bleeding, make sure that you visit your health care provider. It is important to make sure that this is not a symptom of a serious illness. It could be something minor or a more hazardous problem. Rectal bleeding is not normal, and if it is nonstop or in large amounts you should go get emergency care.
It is important to try to prevent rectal bleeding. You can help by keeping your lower intestine as clean as possible. Eat a healthy diet, drink lots of fluids, with a regular exercise plan. This will help prevent constipation, hemrrhoids and diverticula.
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