Blood in stool is a possible symptom for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Blood in stool that is a result of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) will appear red or bright red, whereas if the blood is coming from the upper digestive tract, it will appear dark or even black.
Bleeding from the rectum is more common in ulcerative colitis than in Crohn’s disease, because colitis affects the rectum. Damage to the rectum and large intestine in ulcerative colitis explains the presence of blood in stool, as ulcers forming along the intestinal lining are bleeding.
Bleeding in ulcerative colitis can be significant and even contribute to anemia. Many patients with ulcerative colitis may require iron supplements to manage their anemia, along with other vitamin supplements.
In severe cases, bleeding in ulcerative colitis can be life threatening. If it can’t be stopped, the rectum may have to be surgically removed.
Bleeding in Crohn’s disease can vary depending on the location of inflammation. If it takes place in the colon or rectum, there will be more blood present in stools.
Blood loss in Crohn’s disease may be due to anal fissures that develops as a complication of Crohn’s disease. The good news is, anal fissures can be successfully treated without surgery.
The kind of treatment you require depends on your diagnosis (whether you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) and location of the bleeding.
You should notify your doctor at first sight of the blood, as causes of rectal bleeding can be as harmless as a hemorrhoid and as severe as cancer. You will also want to monitor the accompanying symptoms to help you narrow down on the cause of your blood in stool. Once you run the necessary tests, your doctor will be able to confirm your diagnosis and put you on a treatment plan.
Rectal bleeding treatment may involve managing hemorrhoids, replenishing blood loss, supplementing vitamins and minerals, using ointments or suppositories, staying well hydrated, preventing constipation and diarrhea, increasing your fiber intake, avoiding sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time, and applying ice packs in case of pain.