It is much more frequent than you may think, and when it occurs, it can generate extreme worry and even alarm.
Seeing blood in the stool can be scary, and even an indicator of colon cancer occurrence. However, there are other more common and less alarming causes that may be at the root of this symptom.
Fermín Mearín, director of the digestive system service at Teknon Medical Center in Spain, told BBC News what may be happening to his body.
1. Hemorrhoids or anal fissure
They are often manifested by the presence of bright reddish blood in the stool.
“This usually indicates that the blood comes from the lower part of the body and that its origin is in the anus or rectum,” says Mearin.
Hemorrhoids may not be visually detected, and require careful anal exploration by touching or retouching.
An anal fissure can also be diagnosed with a simple scan. This small cut in the anus may appear in people suffering from constipation.
2. Intestinal inflammation
The cause of these inflammatory lesions in the intestine may be the incidence of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
“In addition to inflammation, it is customary to have diarrhea and abdominal pain,” says Mearin. They usually affect the colon – or the small intestine in the case of Chron’s disease.
In this case, the stools turn red and dark. “The lower and near the anus is the inflammation, the redder they get,” explains Mearin.
Bleeding in the stomach
This problem manifests itself mainly through the excretion of black and sticky stools.
If dark blood appears mixed with feces, then it is likely to come from the colon or from some part of the body.
In this case, doctors will advise you to have a colonoscopy to see if there are polyps in the colon, a cancer or vascular lesions.
“Most individuals end up having benign pathologies,” says Mearín.
And even if the color of the stool is a clue to the manifestation of various pathologies, it is necessary to take into account the food intake. Black licorice can, for example, cause black stools. The consumption of beets and tomatoes can make them reddish.