Seeing blood in your stool can be shocking, but it may only be caused by hemorrhoids. You can also have hidden blood in stool that can be the sign of a potentially serious condition like colon cancer. The experienced doctors at Triborough GI carefully evaluate your symptoms, conduct diagnostic tests as needed, and get to the cause of the problem. If you’ve noticed blood in your stool, it’s important to get a thorough examination. Schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island, New York.
Blood in your stool can come from any part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and occur for many reasons, some of which aren’t serious. When the blood in your stool is bright red, the condition is called hematochezia.
However, blood in stool isn’t always red. Blood breaks down and darkens as it travels through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When that happens, your stool turns black, tarry, and foul-smelling, a condition called melena. Even though it’s still visible, it doesn’t resemble blood.
Red blood in your stool may come from diarrhea and constipation, as well as problems such as:
Black-colored stools often indicate bleeding from the upper GI tract, such as a peptic ulcer, a Helicobacter pylori infection, or tumors in your stomach or small intestine.
Occult blood refers to hidden blood. When there’s minimal bleeding in your GI tract, or when the condition is bleeding slowly, you’ll have such a small amount of blood in your stool that you won’t be able to see it. Although your stool appears normal, an occult lab test can detect microscopic signs of blood.
The presence of occult blood may be a sign of colon cancer or other problems, such as polyps, ulcers, and even hemorrhoids.
There are two ways to discover blood in your stool: You can see the red or black changes, or your doctor at Triborough GI can order an occult blood test to screen for colon cancer or to diagnose other GI symptoms.
Once blood is found, your doctor thoroughly reviews your medical history and symptoms, and performs a physical exam as well as a digital rectal exam. Depending on the results of your exam, your doctor may recommend additional testing.
You may need a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to examine the inside of your rectum and large intestine. If bleeding is suspected in your esophagus, stomach, or small intestine, you may need to have an upper GI endoscopy. Once the underlying problem is diagnosed, you’ll begin treatment to target that condition.
To get expert treatment for blood in your stool, call Triborough GI or schedule an appointment online.