Detecting dark or bright red blood in a bowel movement can be alarming and may cause you to be distressed about your physical wellness. But having blood in your stool (hematochezia) might not always suggest a major health condition. Several health conditions might lead to the presence of dark, maroon, or bright red bloody stools. The gastroenterology specialists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center in Jackson, MS commonly provide care for this issue and can diagnose the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding among individuals of all ages.

What does having blood in the stool indicate?

Blood in a bowel movement is a sign that bleeding has transpired as some location throughout the digestive tract. Bleeding may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal system, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. In some instances, gastrointestinal bleeding or bloody stools in Jackson, MS individuals could be caused by minor internal problems that are managed and treated easily. But given that blood in a bowel movement may also be a symptom of a number of complex GI diseases, it is very important to see a gastroenterologist right way to diagnose what is causing this symptom.

Conditions that can cause bloody stools

Even though a bloody bowel movement may be completely a benign symptom, it may also be evidence of a more complex medical condition that requires professional care. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding causes could include:

Should I see a gastroenterologist about red blood in the stool?

Any instances of dark or fresh blood in stools that persist should be assessed by a gastroenterologist. Proper treatment should be sought if heavy bleeding is noticed or when symptoms, like loose stools, abdominal pain, fatigue, dizzy spells, or additional problems, are also experienced. The gastroenterologists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center can perform testing to discover at what point within the GI system the bleeding is coming from. Throughout the process, they can specify the causes of blood in the stool and decide if further care is required. Common procedures utilized to evaluate the condition causing rectal bleeding or red blood in the stool include:

  • Upper endoscopy: Often referred to as an upper GI, an upper endoscopy involves the placement of a camera attached to a flexible scope through the oral cavity and into the digestive tract. This diagnostic procedure can help detect if bloody stools are coming from an issue associated with the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which make up the upper portion of the digestive tract.
  • Capsule endoscopy: During a capsule endoscopy, a wireless camera housed within a tiny capsule is swallowed, in the same way as an oral pill. As it makes its way through the upper GI tract and the small intestine, the miniature camera captures and sends pictures of the digestive system components.
  • Colonoscopy: During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible device fitted with a special camera is utilized to show a real-time view of the internal areas of the large intestine (colon). GI doctors might recommend this endoscopic process to look for conditions within the colon or rectum that might be contributing to rectal bleeding or bloody stools. Colon polyps can also be excised throughout the course of a colonoscopy procedure, which may aid in minimizing the possibility of colon cancer over time.
  • Fecal tests (stool analysis): These laboratory tests can pick up on the presence of occult (hidden) blood in the stool, which might be evidence of colon cancer or other GI health concerns.

Experienced gastrointestinal care in Jackson, MS

Gastrointestinal health is a very important part of your general health and wellness. It is critical to visit a GI specialist any time you notice blood in your stool to discover the cause and help protect your health. Please contact GI Associates & Endoscopy Center in Jackson, MS to book an appointment with a skilled gastroenterologist.

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