The presence of blood in the stool may have caused you fear and anxiety. Blood in the stool can be light or dark. If you have light blood in your stool but no pain when you defecate, the most common cause is hemorrhoids.
But there are other reasons for light stool blood, some of which can be very serious, such as colon cancer.
What are the symptoms of blood in the stool?
Blood in the stool is not a disease in itself, but is caused by gastrointestinal problems and diseases.
Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine, will cause a dark, foul-smelling stool in the form of diarrhea, but it is often painless.
Bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract, the large intestine, rectum, and duct near the anus, will occur in the form of fresh blood in the stool or in the toilet bowl. Clear blood in the stool can be accompanied by pain during defecation or be completely painless.
Causes of clear blood in the stool
The reason that in some disorders the color of blood is light is that the body does not have enough time to decompose blood, in other words, either the bleeding is fresh or the volume of bleeding is too much. We said that problems, diseases, and bleeding in the lower parts of the gastrointestinal tract (large intestine, rectum, and anal canal) cause clear blood to be excreted in the stool. The excretion of clear blood in the stool is called hematopoiesis in medicine.
The following are some of the disorders that lead to hematochezia (excretion of clear blood in the stool):
Hemorrhoids are sometimes called piles. Hemorrhoids are clumps of large, prominent veins located in the wall of the rectum and anal canal.
Hemorrhoids are usually asymptomatic, but can be accompanied by itching and clear bloody stools or the presence of clear blood on toilet paper. When hard stool passes through the anal canal, it can stretch the wall or damage the surface of the hemorrhoid, which causes painless discharge of clear blood in the stool.
Hemorrhoid bleeding resolves on its own and is nothing to worry about.
If you have clear bloody discharge without pain, but after about a week it continues and does not resolve or your bleeding volume is high, you must see a doctor for further examination.
Pain in hemorrhoids only exists when the so-called hemorrhoid is thrombotic (causing a blood clot).
Other causes of clear blood in the stool or Maroon colored stool include:
Diverticula are protrusions that form in the inner wall of the large intestine and are often asymptomatic, but if they become inflamed (so-called diverticulitis), especially in the elderly, they are accompanied by pain and clear stool bleeding (Inflammatory diverticula sometimes occur with clear, painless bowel movements).
Sometimes some of the arteries in the wall of the colon are fragile and bleed. Usually, this disorder resolves on its own. Intestinal angiodysplasias can be associated with renal failure.
Intestinal polyps are like small buds on the inner surface of the intestinal wall. Benign types of intestinal polyps can sometimes be accompanied by painless bleeding in the stool. Sometimes the doctor sends a sample of the bleeding polyp to the lab for further examination.
Colon and rectal cancers are some of the reasons that cause light bleeding in the stool. This blood can be on the stool or mixed with the stool and sometimes includes blood that is seen in the toilet bowl after defecation.
If you have light blood in your stool and it still continues after a week and it has gotten worse, you should see a doctor.
Swelling and inflammation and bleeding of the large intestine may be due to colon cancer or rectal cancer. Colorectal cancer in many people is associated with bleeding (clear blood flow) and is painless. Malignant polyps are the source of most colon and rectal cancers.
Colorectal and rectum cancer develops slowly. In some people, clear blood in the stool leads to anemia and iron deficiency.
Therefore, if we experience anemia and iron deficiency in postmenopausal women or in men of any age, and the person has a history of clear blood in the stool, the necessary tests should be performed for gastrointestinal cancers.
A fistula is a hole and a pathway that forms between nearby organs. Fistulas are very common in the anus. Anal fistulas form between the anus and the skin around it.
In advanced cases where antibiotic and drug treatment is not effective, surgery is used to heal the fistula. Anal fistulas can be one of the causes of clear blood in the stool.
Proctitis or colitis:
Inflammation of the lining of the rectal wall is called proctitis. Proctitis is often accompanied by clear blood in the stool and pain (in some cases there may be no pain).
Colitis is an inflammation of the lining of the colon. In this complication, ulcers develop in the wall of the large intestine, which are accompanied by bleeding and clear blood.
The causes of proctitis and colitis include the following:
- Anal intercourse
- Intestinal obstructions
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
A number of bacteria can cause inflammation of the intestinal wall and cause bloody diarrhea.
Salmonella and Shigella are among the diseases that are associated with dysentery.
Prolapse or prolapse of the rectum:
Swelling and protrusion of part of the rectum from the anus is called rectal prolapse.
Rectal prolapse is usually caused by weak pelvic floor muscles and is more common in adults.
Rectal prolapse is usually accompanied by bleeding and pain, and sometimes light bleeding may be the only symptom.
Note that sometimes certain foods, such as sugar beet, can cause the mistake of expelling clear blood from the anus.
In addition to taking a history and family history of gastrointestinal cancers, your doctor will use the following methods to diagnose:
- Examination of fecal samples
- Endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract
- Sigmoidoscopy (examination with a camera tube that enters the intestines from the anus)
- Sampling of the inner wall of the intestine or rectum
- CT Scan
Treatment of clear anal bleeding:
We said that hematosis is a symptom, so to treat it, the doctor must diagnose the underlying cause and choose the appropriate treatment, but in general, hemorrhoids are the most common cause of clear stool blood.
Observing the following helps to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent these symptoms:
- Have a healthy diet full of fiber
- Drink enough water
- Having physical activity
- Do not force when defecating
- Avoid fatty foods and spices and fast foods
- The use of psyllium powder can also help prevent and treat bleeding from hemorrhoids
- If diverticulitis is not treated with medication, surgery is the ultimate treatment option.
Colon and rectal cancers (colorectal cancers) can be treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy if they are diagnosed in the early stages.
The Final word
If you have a family history of gastrointestinal cancers, it is best to take any blood in the stool seriously.
In the following cases, if you see clear blood in the stool, it is necessary to see a doctor:
- Prolonged bleeding (more than one to two weeks)
- Swelling and abdominal pain
- Bleeding with fever
- Weight Loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Abnormal changes in stool status
- Stool in the form of a tube, thin and smooth
- Bleeding plus fecal incontinence
Also, if you have clear blood in your stool with one or more of the following symptoms, you should go to an equipped medical center immediately:
- Lightness of the head
- Severe abdominal pain