Seeing blood in the toilet bowl or on the paper after wiping can set alarm bells ringing, and not without reason. While many causes of blood in stool aren't serious, some are, so a visit to the board-certified physicians at Gotham Gastroenterology is vital. At their locations throughout New York City in the Midtown East and Financial District neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York, and Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, the Gotham Gastroenterology team can find out why you have rectal bleeding and provide advanced treatments. Call the office nearest you today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Bleeding can happen anywhere within your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including your stomach, small intestine, colon (large intestine), rectum, and anus. The blood may be coating the stool, or form part of the stool itself. Sometimes you can see blood in the toilet bowl or on the paper after you wipe.
This wide variation in the appearance of blood in stool is due to the different underlying causes, where the bleeding is coming from, and how fast the blood is traveling through your body.
Dark, tar-like blood in stool often indicates blood is coming from your upper GI tract, while brighter red or maroon blood in stool is likely to be coming from the lower GI tract. In addition to blood in stool you might also experience:
The presence of one or more of these symptoms and the nature of the blood provides important clues as to the cause of blood in the stool.
Upper gastrointestinal tract conditions that can cause blood in stool include ulcers and stomach irritation. Lower GI tract causes of bleeding include:
While many causes of blood in your stool aren't a cause for concern, it could be a sign of a serious condition. Therefore you should always consult your provider at Gotham Gastroenterology if you have bloody stools.
Diagnosing the cause of blood in your stool begins with your gastroenterologist reviewing your medical history and performing a comprehensive physical examination. You'll probably need blood and stool sample tests, and in some cases an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy to determine the cause of your bleeding.
Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy are procedures that allow your gastroenterologist to directly examine the inside of your intestinal tract with a flexible camera. These minimally invasive procedures also enable your provider to gather tissue for biopsies, and in some instances, to treat the cause of the bleeding.
The treatment you require depends on the cause of the blood in your stool. Some causes may resolve on their own. For example, mild cases of hemorrhoids can disappear without treatment.
More severe cases of hemorrhoids might require that you undergo a procedure to shrink or remove the affected veins, such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, or coagulation techniques that use laser or infrared technology.
Medications might be useful for some conditions, such as mesalamine for ulcerative colitis. In other cases, like colorectal cancer and severe Crohn's disease, you might require surgery.
Find out what's causing blood in your stool and get fast, effective treatment by calling Gotham Gastroenterology today or book an appointment online.