There's Bright Red Blood in My Stool

There are many possible reasons for bright red blood in your stool.

Does This Sound Familiar to You?

I am 17 years old, relatively active (meaning I go to the gym 3-4 times a week), and more often than not I am strictly eating vegetables. Sometimes when I go to the bathroom, I feel a sharp pain and sometimes I find little traces of pink on the toilet paper. Starting this week, I noticed bright red blood in my stool. Not a whole lot, but just in one part of the poop. The minute I noticed it, I became very concerned that it could be colon cancer. But, I realize that this is one possibility among some others.

I told my mother about it and she told me to make sure I keep an eye on it and let her know. She thinks I may not be getting enough fiber, which I guess is also possible. I've noticed it for three days now and so I was wondering if you had any suggestions of what I should do. My best friend said it could be hemorrhoids, but it doesn't hurt for me to sit down at all. I'm really scared and so anything right now would help me.

What Does Blood in Your Stool Signify?

You were right. The bright red blood in your stool could be caused by many different things. For example: 

  • Constipation is a common cause. It is actually possible to tear the tissue around your anus by passing a large stool, effectively giving yourself a cut. It takes time for that cut to heal and until it does, it bleeds.
  • Hemorrhoids can cause blood in the stool. Hemorrhoids can be internal or external and are often caused by struggling when trying to defecate. You can't always feel them, and they don't always hurt when you sit.
  • It is possible to eat things that will cause bright red blood in the stool. For example, if you eat sunflower seeds in the shell, and chew up the entire seed (along with the shell), your body has trouble breaking that down. The result: shells go through your digestive system, causing scratching and a little bit of bleeding.
  • Digestive issues such as Crohns disease and ulcers can lead to blood in the stool.
  • Colon cancer is also a possible cause for blood in the stool.

You did the right thing in telling your mother and confiding in your best friend. Now, I'd say the best thing to do is to consult a doctor; this symptom should always be brought to the attention of a medical professional. 

Related Questions:

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Sources:

Bleeding in the Digestive Tract. National Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse. Nov. 2004. Accessed 5 Jul. 2008 [http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bleeding/index.htm].

Blood in Stool. American Cancer Society. 7 Apr. 2008. Accessed 5 Jul. 2008 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MBC/content/MBC_2_3x_Blood_in_Stool.asp?sitearea=MBC].

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