GI Conditions That May Contribute to Blood in the Stool

Finding red bloody stool can be alarming and may leave you worried about your digestive health. But bowel movement blood (called hematochezia) might not always signify a serious medical problem. A number of conditions can result in having fresh or red blood in the stool. The gastrointestinal doctors at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates commonly evaluate this concern and can identify the source of gastrointestinal bleeding among adults and children throughout the Hinsdale, IL region.

What might having bloody stools indicate?

Bloody stool indicates that bleeding has happened somewhere along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bleeding could develop in any portion of the GI system, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. In some cases, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool may be a result of minor internal conditions that are simple to manage and treat. But since red or fresh blood in the stool could also be an indication of several serious gastrointestinal conditions, it's essential to visit a specialized physician as early as possible to identify the cause.

What causes bloody stool?

Even though bloody stools may be completely a benign symptom, it can also be a sign of a more complex health concern that should be further investigated. The causes of bloody stools or rectal bleeding could include:

  • Cancer of the colon
  • Gastric cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Anal fissures
  • Hemorrhoids

Who should consult a GI doctor about blood in the stool?

Any signs of rectal bleeding or bloody stools that persist should be evaluated by a gastrointestinal doctor. Immediate care should be sought if heavy bleeding occurs or if symptoms (like pain in the abdomen, loose bowels, fatigue, dizziness, or additional issues) also arise. The experts at Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates may perform a series of tests to learn in what area along the GI tract the bleeding is originating. Additionally, they can specify bloody stool causes and determine whether there are any treatment needs. Common services used to diagnose the condition causing blood in the stool or rectal bleeding are:

  • Fecal tests (stool analysis): These common lab tests can identify the presence of occult (hidden) blood in a stool sample, which can be evidence of colon cancer or additional GI diseases.
  • Colonoscopy: With this procedure, an endoscope outfitted with a video camera is utilized to provide a real-time image of the internal structure of the large intestine (colon). GI specialists throughout the Hinsdale, IL area use this endoscopic procedure to visualize growths or conditions within the rectum or colon that could be the source of bloody stools or rectal bleeding. Colon polyps can often also be removed during a colonoscopy, which could help to reduce the chance of colon cancer in the future.
  • Capsule endoscopy: With capsule endoscopy, a small capsule containing a wireless camera is ingested, much like an oral pill. The small camera captures and forwards photos of the various areas of the digestive system as it makes its way through the upper GI tract and into the small intestine.
  • Upper endoscopy: Also called an upper GI, this diagnostic procedure entails the insertion of a long scope that houses a small camera through the mouth and into the GI tract. Upper endoscopies can help identify whether bloody stools are the result of an issue associated with the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which make up the upper part of the digestive system.

Specialty care for gastrointestinal health in Hinsdale, IL

Gastrointestinal health is a very important part of your systemic wellness. Any time red blood in the stool is present after having a bowel movement, it's vital to see a GI physician to pinpoint the cause and help preserve your health. Please contact Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates today to schedule a consultation with a qualified gastroenterologist.