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:
|Possible Urgent Medical Need
|Iron Deficiency Anemia
Do you see red blood in or on your stools?
Possible responses:→ 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
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.
In general, you should see a specialist if you are over 40 and have the following symptoms:
Rapid bleeding can cause bowel movements to become black or even bloody.
Passing visible blood from the rectum (hematochezia) may indicate bleeding in the lower intestines.
Ulcerative colitis can cause bloody, watery or mucusy bowel movements which may consist only of blood and pus.