According to abbreviationfinder, Hematochezia is blood in the stool. Many sufferers are frightened by a bloody stool. Ultimately, a doctor should be consulted at the first sign. But serious illnesses are not always behind the symptoms.
What is hematochezia?
A stool sample can confirm the presence of blood. A blood test and various palpation findings are also used.
If there is blood in the stool, it is a sign that one of the organs in the digestive tract is losing blood. This is eventually released through the intestines. The appearance of the blood can provide clues as to where the exact source is. In addition to the color, the exact texture is also examined. Blood in the stool does not always show up as bright red blood. Sometimes the stool turns dark in color. The color differs depending on the level of bleeding.
Through contact with stomach acid and changes caused by bacteria, the blood also takes on a different form. If there is light blood in the excretions, it is referred to as hematochezia. The color indicates that the blood is fresh and an injury to the esophagus, for example, is unlikely. Instead, doctors can assume that the blood has not had long-term contact with either stomach acid or bacteria.
Furthermore, the stool may be evenly colored or have red streaks. Sometimes the blood cannot be seen externally. Instead, it is only discovered during a stool examination. In such a case one speaks of occult blood.
Due to the color and texture, some causes of bloody stool can already be ruled out. In the case of hematochezia, injuries in the area of the colon and rectum are particularly likely. If the excretion is only discolored in a few places, hemorrhoids may be present, for example. Hemorrhoids are located in the anus. It is a benign tissue growth, but depending on its stage, it can cause pain, itching and a burning sensation.
Traces of blood with a jelly-like consistency indicate minor bleeding. Constipation, among other things, can cause injuries to the mucous membrane. Such a change is called a fissure and is more common in people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, intestinal polyps, intestinal diverticula and cancer cannot be ruled out. Especially after traveling to other countries, a test must be carried out to reveal any parasites. Ultimately, however, food can also lead to confusion. For example, beetroot can turn the stool bright red.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The symptoms that occur depend primarily on the underlying cause. For example, stomach and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, exhaustion, tiredness, night sweats and a significant loss of weight can occur. Heavy bleeding can lead to anemia, which in turn promotes listlessness.
Hemorrhoids cause pain, especially during bowel movements. In advanced stages, the growths can already be visible from the outside. Another clue is severe itching. Hematochezia usually goes away on its own after a while. Nevertheless, blood in the stool is always a reason to see a doctor. If other symptoms become noticeable at the same time, an early appointment should be made. This is the only way to determine the exact cause. Even if the cause is often harmless, the diagnosis provides certainty.
Diagnosis & course of disease
Before the physical examination, there will be an interview with the doctor. The patient should be able to provide information about his bowel habits and changes. Furthermore, any previous illnesses, complaints, possible weight fluctuations and information about nutrition must be provided. A stool sample can confirm the presence of blood. A blood test and various palpation findings are also used.
The course of a hematochezia also depends on the disease from which the symptoms result. If detected early, colorectal cancer can be cured in most cases. Although hemorrhoids are very uncomfortable, there are now numerous treatment approaches that restore quality of life. Anemia always requires medical attention. Otherwise, the anemia can lead to further complaints.
Hematochezia causes bloody stools. For many people, a bloody stool leads to a panic attack and severe mental discomfort or anxiety. However, blood in the stool does not always indicate a serious health complication. In most cases, the hematochezia is accompanied by severe nausea and vomiting.
The patient feels ill and exhausted and can usually no longer actively participate in life. The quality of life is significantly restricted and reduced by the disease. Weight loss often occurs. In the case of severe diarrhea, dehydration can also occur if the person concerned does not compensate for the loss of fluids.
Likewise, severe fatigue occurs and the patient cannot expose himself to particularly great loads. It is not uncommon for there to be pain with bowel movements if the hematochezia is not treated. In most cases, hematochezia can be treated relatively well, always treating the underlying disease.
This is usually done with antibiotics or a change in diet. There are no further complications and the course of the disease is positive.
When should you go to the doctor?
Hematochezia indicates an injury in the small or large intestine. Therefore, if you experience symptoms such as stomach and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting or fatigue, you should always consult a doctor. If there are other symptoms such as night sweats or a significant weight loss, the person concerned should see the doctor on the same day. Severe pain during bowel movements and signs of anemia are also clear warning signs that need to be clarified.
If the complaints actually have a serious cause, they must be treated immediately. Otherwise, serious complications can occur, including intestinal inflammation and deficiency symptoms. Anyone suffering from bloody excretions after constipation or as part of an intestinal disease should inform the responsible doctor. Medical advice is also needed if you notice blood in your stool after an accident or fall. Then there may be a larger internal injury that needs to be treated immediately. The right contact person for hematochezia is the family doctor or a urologist.
Treatment & Therapy
If blood can be confirmed in the stool, therapy is not always necessary. The bleeding often stops on its own. Nevertheless, the cause should always be determined by a doctor. Especially in the case of heavy bleeding, the source must be found, otherwise there is a risk of anemia. Such bleeding is usually treated during an endoscopy. One of the methods is the hemoclip. It is a clamp that compresses the mucous membrane in the affected area.
An adrenaline solution can also be injected. This ensures that the vessels contract. Fibrin glue has a similar effect. After the bleeding has stopped, further therapeutic measures are taken to treat the underlying cause. For ulcers, certain medications can inhibit the production of stomach acid, causing less of the fluid to be produced. In addition, a change in diet should take place.
If bacteria have spread, antibiotics usually help. Chronic inflammatory bowel disease should also be treated, for example with anti-inflammatory drugs. One way to remove hemorrhoids is with a rubber band ligation. Because colon polyps are often the cause of colon cancer, removing the tissue growth is important. Colorectal cancer is treated depending on its severity. The primary goal is usually surgical removal of the tumor.
Hematochezia can be prevented to a limited extent. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and enough fiber can prevent stomach and colon cancer. In addition, the consumption of animal products should be greatly reduced. Greasy food results in increased production of stomach acid. In addition to heartburn, too much stomach acid also causes ulcers in the long term.
Follow-up measures are very limited in hematochezia. First and foremost, this disease must be diagnosed early so that no further complications occur and so that the symptoms of the person affected do not continue to worsen. Self-healing cannot occur here, so that the person affected should consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs of the disease appear.
In many cases, the person affected by hematochezia has to take various medications. The instructions of the doctor should always be followed, whereby a correct dosage and regular intake of the medication must also be ensured. If anything is unclear or if you have any questions, you should always consult your doctor. The doctor can also create a nutrition plan for the patient.
In general, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet has a very positive effect on the course of hematochezia. If antibiotics are taken, they must not be taken together with alcohol. Contact with other people affected by the disease can also be very useful, as it is not uncommon for information to be exchanged.
You can do that yourself
Since bloody stool can sometimes conceal a serious illness, the cause of hematochezia should be clarified by a doctor before starting self-treatment.
If harmless hemorrhoids or anal fissures are the trigger, ointments or suppositories available in pharmacies can ease the symptoms. Sitz baths with anti-inflammatory additives such as chamomile, witch hazel or arnica bring relief. A high-fiber diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grain products helps to prevent tears in the sensitive mucous membrane caused by hard stool. Regular exercise and sufficient fluid intake also contribute to healthy digestion. Taking psyllium, flaxseed or a herbal tea mixture that promotes digestion has proven effective for short-term stimulation of digestive activity.
Thorough anal hygiene is important, but vigorous rubbing or the use of cleaning products that are too aggressive can damage the sensitive skin and cause bleeding. You should also avoid straining when you have a bowel movement. Hematochezia from colon polyps, ulcers, or tumors must always be treated by a doctor. Anyone who suffers from ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract or would like to reduce their risk of disease should limit the consumption of fatty foods and avoid excessive alcohol and nicotine consumption. Chronic stress is also often noticeable through digestive problems: In order to counteract this, a balanced relationship between tension and relaxation should be emphasized in everyday life.