Q:

When would blood in a bowel movement be cause for alarm?

A:

Quick Answer

Although most incidents of blood in bowel movements arise from conditions that are treatable, all rectal bleeding should be reported to a physician, states Cleveland Clinic. Sometimes blood in bowel movements indicates a serious illness, such as colorectal cancer. For that reason, rectal bleeding should be investigated immediately.

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Full Answer

Rectal bleeding often manifests as blood in the toilet bowl or remnants left on bathroom tissue and underwear, describes Cleveland Clinic. Dark stools can also indicate the presence of rectal bleeding. The most common cause of rectal bleeding is the presence of hemorrhoids, or swollen veins, in the rectum or anus.Hemorrhoids are treated with medications, chemicals, laser removal and surgical removal.

Other causes of blood in the stool include anal fissures, perianal abscesses, fistulas, diverticulosis and inflammatory bowel disease, according to Cleveland Clinic. Inflammatory bowel disease is a serious condition in which inflammation is present in the large or small intestine. It's treated with diet, medication and surgery.

Ulcers are lesions in the stomach lining or small intestine, and they may lead to blood in the stool, states Cleveland Clinic. Most ulcers are treatable with diet, antibiotics and medications. Polyps are large or small growths that occur when normal cell division and growth go awry. Not all polyps are cancerous, but some have the potential to become cancerous, so they should be removed.

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