The fast-paced nature of modern society brings huge changes in people’s work and living habits. People tend to live an unhealthy life that leads to many health problems, and bloody stool is one of the common discomforts in people.
When finding blood in stool, some people would suspect whether it is a sign of colon cancer. Actually, there are many causes of bloody stools as follows:
Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids is a common cause for bloody stool. The blood appears bright red. Bleeding occurs before or after bowel movements and stains the toilet paper. Sometimes bleeding can more severe, dramatically spraying across the toilet bowl.
Anal fissure: Anal fissure is a small tear in the thin, moist tissue that lines the anus. When bleeding a little bit, right red blood will appear on the stool and or toilet paper after a bowel movement. But when bleeding is severe, blood will leave in the intestinal lumen and the blood in the stool can be black and dark red, sometimes with blood clots.
Rectal or colon polyps: Most polyps are benign and polyp bleeding causes no pain. The blood in the stool is bright red, not mixed with stool.
Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease and its main symptom is diarrhea usually with blood, mucus or pus. It may also cause abdominal pain, fever, and frequent bowel movements.
Colon cancer: Colon cancer can cause blood in the stool, often with mucus and pus. The fecal occult blood test for colon cancer is positive. Other symptoms like weight loss and abdominal pain will occur.
Blood in the stool is not always a herald of intestinal tumors, and it is not a major symptom for an early colon tumor or right-sided colon cancer. Early colon cancer may only have a change in bowel habits or a small amount of painless red blood. At this stage, patients often think that it is caused by hemorrhoids and doesn’t need special attention. As the tumor progress and develops into an advanced one, typical mucus, pus and blood will appear in the stool, accompanied by other symptoms like abdominal pain, weight loss, and fever. If the tumor blocks the intestinal tracts, there will be severe abdominal pain and bloating, and obstructed defecation.
When you suspect cancer, you should go to the hospital immediately. A digital rectal exam is the easiest screen way that can help find over 70% of rectal cancer. Additionally, a blood sample can be taken for tumor marker examination. When tumor markers are detected 2-3 times higher than the normal level, colon cancer is highly likely. Colonoscopy is the best way to diagnose colorectal cancer. Although there may be some pain, all the colon and rectal intestines can be seen under direct vision. If there are any abnormalities, biopsy samples will be taken for further diagnosis.
Blood in stool is common health trouble for people and some steps can help prevent blood in the stool. Keep a light diet with more fiber-riched fruits and vegetables and less fried and spicy foods; Do regular exercise and avoid a sedentary lifestyle; Get enough sleep and avoid staying up late.