Whenever we experience problems in our health, we usually observe unusual changes and happenings in our body. These changes can be referred to as indications as to what these diseases can cause to the normal functioning of the system. These unusual observations and findings can also depend on the type infection that has invaded our system as well as the area affected by the said disease. For example, whenever a bacterium infects our lungs, production of sputum and the presence of coughs and colds are always evident or expected. But what causes the body to have blood in the stool? In line with this, what does it mean when I have blood in my toilet after bowel movement?
Normal Bowel Movement
There are actually a number of ways for us to remove waste from our body. These body wastes can be released through our urine, sweat, respiration and feces. However, expelling waste products from our body should never contain blood in large amounts. Blood is never considered a waste substance, which is why seeing it in our stool is already considered abnormal. Normal bowel movement should occur not more than 3 times a day or not less than 3 times a week. Once bowel movement exceeds the maximum range, this is already known as diarrhea while removing waste less than 3 times a week is already considered constipation. The consistency, color and amount of the stool produced in every bowel movement also depend on the type and amount of food we ate. Normal stools are usually firm to mushy in consistency and have a color of dark to light brown. Seeing dark or bright red streaks on stools may indicate bleeding in the upper and lower portions of the gastrointestinal tract. This is why it is important to always seek medical advice once these observations are noticed.
Dark Colored Stool
Producing dark (almost black) colored stools can be caused by many factors. Eating too much dark colored foods such as chocolate or sodas can result to this type of stool. Drinking iron supplements can also produce dark colored feces. However, the presence of dark streaks can also indicate the presence of bleeding in the upper portion of the GIT. We all know that blood should be bright to dull red in color; however in this case, blood in the upper GIT turns dark or black in color since it takes more time for the blood to travel all the way to the rectum. By the time it reaches this portion, the blood is already considered old, thus causing the change in color. This condition is otherwise known medically as melena or the presence of dark or old blood in the stool.
• Common Causes of Melena
Melena can actually be caused by a lot of reasons. One of the most common is due to gastric or peptic ulcer. Ulcerations commonly occur in the stomach due to the abnormalities in the production of gastric acid as well as the alterations in the gastric lining, which can be caused by bacteria. Because of this, the tissue in the stomach can ulcerate causing the production of blood. Melena can also be a result to internal hemorrhage of the upper GIT due to trauma or accidents.
Stool with Bright Red Color
Another sign of blood in the stool is the presence of bright red streaks. This is a lot easier to distinguish compared to melena since it is more visible and can be identified better. Since dark blood is produced from upper GIT bleeding, bright red blood on stools is due to bleeding problems in the lower GIT. Unlike melena, bleeding in the lower GIT produce bright red color since it takes less time for it to be excreted from the body. This is why it is commonly referred to as fresh blood. This condition is medically known as hematochezia or the presence of bright red streaks in stool.
• Common Causes of Hematochezia
Just like melena, there are actually a lot of reasons that can cause hematochezia to occur. One of the most common is due to hemorrhoids. What are hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins that are located around the anus or the lower portion of the rectum. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine that is connected to the anus, which is the opening of the digestive tract that allows the exretion of the bowel contents. Once this inflammation occurs, veins can start rupture causing the area to bleed. This results to the production of bright red blood, which can mix with the stool as it goes out of the GIT. Hemorrhoids are considered to be very painful and can also lead to severe hemorrhage, which is why immediate and proper attention is needed.
Another common cause of hematochezia is anal fissure. Anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus which causes the area to bleed thus allowing blood to mix with the stool. This condition can worsen every bowel movement is done since it irritates the tear more causing the fissure to produce more blood. Some of the other causes of hematochezia include colon cancer, colon polyps, colitis and diverticulitis.
What to do when this condition is experienced?
The very first thing to do is to check what type of blood is produced or evident in the stool. If the stool is dark in color, we must first assess the type of food we have eaten earlier or the past day in order to distinguish whether it is only an effect of dark colored foods. However, if the production of dark stools continues despite eating clear colored foods, then this can be a result to upper GIT bleeding. Once this is experienced or the presence of bright red streaks in stools, then immediate help from the doctor must be done in order to assess the condition as soon as possible. Some of the most common examinations done in diagnosing bleeding in the GIT includes rectal exam, colonoscopy endoscopy, barium enema, upper GI series and sigmoidoscopy.
These are some of the things that we need to know when it comes to having blood in the toilet after bowel movement. Just like any other disease or health problems in the body, proper and fast referral to the doctor is the main key in preventing the situation from becoming worse or uncontrolled.