ZocdocAnswersWhat causes blood in stool?

Question

What causes blood in stool?

I have recently been ingesting a lot of ghost pepper salsa. There has been blood on the toilet paper off and on during the cleaning process after a bowel movement. Upon cleaning my last BM, there was a lot of blood on the toilet paper, and even in the water (prior to this BM there hadn’t been blood in the water). Side note: I have also recently had protected coitus with someone who has herpes (I was unaware at the time... this was over a month ago). I have yet to be tested and have had no symptoms, however, I note this because I have read that herpes may cause blood in stool. Thank you in advance for your answers.

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your symptoms. Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract is a potentially serious problem. In order to reach a diagnosis, a physician will need to thoroughly review your medical history and also perform a physical exam, including a rectal exam. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. After a thorough, in person evaluation, the doctor can help determine the next best course of action. Bright red blood passing through the rectum is typically either due to a source in the lower GI tract or very brisk bleeding from an upper GI source. Of the causes of a lower GI bleed, one common cause is hemorrhoids, or dilated blood vessels near the rectum. Another possibility is an anal fissure, or tearing of the rectal lining. Other possible causes include an arteriovenous malformation, viral infection, or tumor. It will be necessary for you to visit a gastroenterologist to determine the cause in your case. Possible causes of an upper GI bleed include an ulcer in the stomach or duodenum, irritation of the stomach lining, or abnormal blood vessels in the esophagus. I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with a gastroenterologist. After a thorough review, the doctor can help determine if you need to undergo any additional tests.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.