Seeing blood in the stool can be alarming, especially if you have never experienced it before. Most likely, you may have been straining when having a bowel movement and the bleeding is due to a hemorrhoid. In other cases, blood in the stool could be an indication of something more serious, such as colon cancer.
About 90 percent of colon and rectal cancer patients initially thought they had hemorrhoids because of symptoms such as rectal itching and rectal bleeding. If you are experiencing any signs of rectal bleeding, no matter what your age, you should consult your doctor immediately, especially if it is a new symptom.
Hemorrhoids are itching, painful or bleeding masses of swollen tissues and veins located in the anus and rectum. About 89 percent of all Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives, so they are much more common than you may think. Hemorrhoids tend to flare and then go away, so bleeding patterns are more erratic and circumstantial. Constipation will exacerbate rectal bleeding, but you will find that your symptoms will gradually disappear.
If you are experiencing new or increased bleeding from the rectum or pain in the rectal or abdominal area, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, including colon cancer. Pain could be the result of an intestinal obstruction. A colon polyp can block fecal matter as it attempts to pass through the digestive tract. Since cancerous tissue bleeds more than normal tissue, a cancerous mass in the colon could possibly be responsible for abnormal rectal bleeding.
If you notice either bright red or very dark blood in your stool, along with severe pain, you need to contact your physician as soon as possible. Having a doctor take a closer at your symptoms can determine what the cause is and decide on the right course of treatment.