Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why is there blood in my stool?"
I'm an 18 year old male with no prior history of gastrointestinal problems. I have a well-balanced diet and keep myself well hydrated. During my bowel movements, I do not experience any pain or sensations of tearing. This has been going on for approximately 3 months, once or twice per week. Is this something I can see my general practitioner about? I haven't recently changed anything in my diet or lifestyle.
In your age group, there are several possibilities that can explain red blood in your stool. The most likely possibility is that you have a bleeding hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids are blood vessels that drain blood from the anus. Sometimes they get engorged with blood and break. This causes bleeding when you have a bowel movement especially after you wipe. Most people with bleeding hemorrhoids report blood seen on the toilet paper. Another possibility is that you have general rectal trauma with your last few bowel movements, though your report of not having any pain makes this less likely. At your age, colon cancer would be extremely unlikely, unless it happens to run in the family. If you have a relative that was diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 40, then you should definitely get a colonoscopy soon. Finally, another possible cause of blood bowel movements is inflammatory bowel disease (examples: Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis), although, this is usually associated with bloody diarrhea, something you haven't reported. I think the best initial physician for you to see is a general practitioner such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. He or she will be able to do some basic blood tests and perform a rectal exam to look for hemorrhoids. If there is any concern for inflammatory bowel disease or colon issues, then you will need a referral to a gastroenterologist.
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