The Most Common Reasons for Blood in Your Stool

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Playing Ask an Expert: 5 Reasons There Is Blood in Your Stool

Finding blood in the toilet can be a sign of a serious health issue and The Doctors welcome colorectal surgeon Dr. Zuri Murrell to help identify the reason you might have blood in your stool.

Hemorrhoids - Dr. Murrell says this is the most common reason to find blood in your poop and notes when a hemorrhoid becomes enlarged it can bleed. If you find bright red blood in the toilet or on the tissue this could be outlet bleeding from hemorrhoids. He says there is often no pain associated with them and only the presence of blood.

Anal fissure - This is a tear along the wall of the anus and it can be very painful. Dr. Murrell says both fissures and hemorrhoids are not a sign of cancer and can be treated by seeing a colorectal specialist.

Colon cancer/Rectal cancer - Dark red blood may be present with colon cancer as it occurs higher up in the gastrointestinal tract and the colorectal surgeon explains bright red blood may be present with rectal cancer. Dr. Murrell stresses if you have blood mixed in with your stool -- either bright or dark in color -- to speak with your doctor about getting a colonoscopy as soon as possible. 

Diverticulitis/diverticulosis - Not eating enough fiber and too much red meat can cause diverticulosis, a condition in which small pouches or pockets develop in the wall or lining of the digestive tract, and when these pouches experience inflammation this is diverticulitis. Dr. Murrell says diverticulosis can cause bleeding. (Get The Doctors'  list of 30 surprising fiber-rich foods you should be eating!)

Small intestine or stomach bleeding - These issues can lead to dark black stool with a foul odor and should be evaluated by your doctor. 

Dr. Murrell stresses if you are dealing with any of these issues for longer than 2 weeks to see your doctor as soon as possible.

More: The ‘Stool Squad’ Answers Your Dirty Poop-Related Questions

More: 'Pandemic Poop' Is Real and Here's How to Address It

More: Why Poop Stinks & Anal Itching Explained!

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