Is there blood in your stool?

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When your poop waves red flags, it’s important to act fast. Stool comes in different colours, usually ranging from shades of brown and even green. If you take a peek while doing your business and your stool is black or streaked with red, it could mean there’s blood in your stool.

Blood in your stool is also known as haematochezia and it’s usually caused by bleeding in the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. 

Black in colour could mean you’ve taken too many iron supplements or eaten too much black liquorice. On the more serious side, you may be bleeding in your upper gastrointestinal tract, like your stomach. Food with red colouring like beetroot, cranberries, tomato juice and red gelatine could make your stool red or streaked with red. Red blood in your stool could also mean that you’re bleeding in your lower intestinal tract, specifically your large intestine or rectum. This is often due to haemorrhoids (swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus). 

 
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, Ibuprofen and naproxen over a long period can also cause ulcers which may lead to blood in stool. 
Treatment for blood in stool first needs a doctor’s diagnosis, but it may include antibiotics, medication to suppress acid in the stomach and anti-inflammatory medication. In some cases, you may need surgery to remove growths that could be a sign of colon damage. 

What causes blood in stool?

Black blood

  • Abnormal blood vessels.
  • A tear in the oesophagus from severe vomitting. 
  • A bleeding stomach ulcer.
  • Blood supply being cut off to part of the intestines.
  • Gastritis (stomach inflammation). 
  • Widened, overgrown veins in the oesophagus and stomach.

Red blood

  • Abnormal blood vessels.
  • Anal fissures (small cuts or tears in your anus). 
  • Bowel ischemia (when the blood flow through the major arteries that supply blood to your intestines slows down or stops). 
  • Diverticulosis (a condition in which small, bulging pouches develop in the digestive tract).
  • Haemorrhoids.
  • Infection in the intestines.

Keep an eye on your stool
If you see blood in your stool, take note of the colour and frequency because your doctor will ask about it to help with a diagnosis. Moderate or severe bleeding can quickly lead to symptoms of dizziness, fainting and other signs of low blood pressure.
If you’re bleeding excessively or have other symptoms like abdominal pain, a fever, weakness, vomitting and heart palpitations, see your doctor immediately. 

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