What Causes Red Blood In Stools?
Red blood in stools can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose red blood in stools, we could:
- Research the topic
- Find a doctor with the time
- Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.
Step 1: List all Possible Causes
We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "red blood in stools" as a symptom. Here are eight possibilities (more below
- Stomach Ulcers
- Iron Deficiency Anemia
- Crohn's Disease
- Possible Urgent Medical Need
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Gastrointestinal Bleeding
- Colon Cancer
Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist
We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
colitis in family members
very low serum iron
past and future vaccination
slightly black/tarry stools
discontinued low-carb diet
microcytic red cells
regular painful urge to defecate
... and more than 60 others
Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause
A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of red blood in stools:
|Iron Deficiency Anemia
|Possible Urgent Medical Need
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis
is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.
Do you see red blood in or on your stools?
→ Never / don't know
→ Occasionally / small amount on tissue only
→ Occasionally / small amount on tissue and stool
→ Very often recently
→ A significant amount for some time now
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate red blood in stools, frequent red blood in stools or significant red blood in stools, The Analyst™
will consider possibilities such as:
A Potentially Urgent Medical Need
|Significant bleeding from anywhere in the body requires immediate medical attention. Small amounts of red blood, especially on the toilet tissue, are most likely from hemorrhoids.|Colon Cancer
|In general, you should see a specialist if you are over 40 and have the following symptoms:|
- A change in normal bowel habits towards looser and/or more frequent stools that has lasted for over 6 weeks
- Any bleeding from the rectum.
|Passing visible blood from the rectum (hematochezia) may indicate bleeding in the lower intestines.|Ulcerative Colitis
|Ulcerative colitis can cause bloody, watery or mucousy bowel movements which may consist only of blood and pus.|