ZocdocAnswersShould I be worried if I found some blood in my stool?

Question

Should I be worried if I found some blood in my stool?

I had trouble going to the bathroom yesterday morning and when I looked I saw that there was some blood in my stool. Should I get myself checked out? Is there a reason there would be blood in my stool? Do I have a stomach problem? Internal bleeding?

Answer

There are many different causes of blood in the stool. One of the most common causes is hemorrhoidal bleeding. If by "having trouble going to the bathroom" you mean that you were straining due to constipation and passing a hard stool, then hemorrhoidal bleeding becomes more likely. Passing a hard bulky stool may have caused some slight trauma to the lining of the rectum or to a small hemorrhoid and resulted in bleeding. If the hemorrhoids have protruded and are external, then the bleeding can be associated with pain. If they are internal then a person may have no pain but may still notice bright red blood on the stool or on the toilet paper. However, there are other more serious causes of bleeding to consider as well. Diverticulosis can present with painless bleeding, and occurs due to erosion of an intestinal artery by an outpouching of the colon wall. Inflammatory bowel disease can also present with blood in the stool, which is due to internal ulceration and inflammation in the lining of the colon. Stomach problems such as a peptic ulcer can certainly bleed and result in blood in the stool, but this usually results in a dark black tarry stool called melena. Given that the cause of your bleeding is unclear, it is advised that you consult with your primary care physician who can conduct a more thorough medical history and physical exam to come up with a diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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