Hematochezia refers to the passage of fresh blood through the anus along with stools. It is commonly linked to the lower gastrointestinal bleeding. It may also occur due to the upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The usual color of feces is from light to dark brown. Sometimes blood is not found in anus, but on wiping the anus, one may notice blood . Sometimes blood is not examined by naked eye, but can be seen by microscopic examination in stool test. Colon is mostly affected by bleeding. Hematochezia is not a disease but an indication that there is a problem in the lower gastro intestinal tract.
Symptoms of hematochezia
- Abdominal cramping
- Abdominal distension
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Weakness feeling in body
- Weakness in breathing
- Severe abdominal pain
- Vomiting of blood
- Changes in the level of consciousness or fainting
- Sudden weight loss may occur in severe cases
- Change in frequency of bowel movements
- Narrow and ribbon like stools
- Rectal pain.
There are various diseases which may cause hematochezia. Some of them are.
- Hemorrhoids: It is caused due to the inflammation of the vascular area of the anal canal.
- Diverticulitis: It occurs when diverticulum appears in colon walls, or pocket like projections or out growth appears in the walls or muscles of colon.
- Colorectal cancer:
- Anal fissures:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases:
- Problems in the blood vessels of intestine:
In new born babies hematochezia may occur due to the swallowing of maternal blood at the time of delivery. In babies hematochezia occurs in association with abdominal pain. In adolescents inflammatory bowel disease particularly ulcerative colitis is the prominent cause of hematochezia.
Hematochezia as a symptom of cancer
Tumors do bleed. It does not bleed constantly or in large amount, but bleeding is sure to occur. If the tumor is situated in the starting point of colon, there will be mostly dry blood, which is invisible to the naked eye. It can only be visible through the microscopic stool test. If the tumor is located towards the end of the colon near the rectum areas, then fresh and bright red blood appears in the stool. It may be a symptom of cancer and the doctor consultation is a must in this case. If blood or any changes occurs in the color of stool immediately consult the doctor. Even if you think that the symptoms is due to hemorrhoids, don’t rely on you and undergo haemorrhoids treatment. Immediately consult the doctor and follow as per his guidance.
Physical examination of the body and medical history should be given to the doctor. Blood sample should be given and the stool sample should be submitted for examination. Faecal examination should be done regularly in every 1 or 2 years to avoid colorectal cancer.
Digital rectal exam is the other method, to detect hematochezia. The doctor inserts the gloved finger inside the rectum to detect the abnormalities in the surrounding areas. With this he can detect large and palpable tumour. Colonoscopy helps the doctor to detect polyp in colon and sigmoid area which is an indication of cancer.
If hematoschezia is caused due to hemorrhoids hot sitz bath should be taken. Person should avoid sitting in the comfort room too long, because it exerts pressure on that area. Certain creams and ointments should also be applied on the focussed area, which can give relief from pain and discomfort.
For patients, if the cause of hematochezia is due to diverticulitis certain drugs or medicines should be prescribed such as ciproflaxin, metonidazole, cephalaxin. If these medicines do not work, then surgery should be carried on. Bleeding diverticula should be removed to stop bleeding.
If hematochezia is due to colorectal cancer the treatment depends on the stage of cancer. If it is early detected and there is no metastasis then it is good. But, if the condition has become severe then palliative treatment should be done. Chemotherapy should be done if there is metastasis of the cancerous cells. Surgery should also be done if there found polyp in colon or in rectal areas. It can be done through colonoscopy or by actual surgery. Cancer patients should also change their ways of living. They should modify their diet and should take abundant fibrous products. Avoid meat like products, rich in fats. They should also leave highly calorific products.
Prevention of hematochezia
It is not a very serious disease and can be easily controllable. No need to worry under the effect of this disease. It can be prevented by following certain dietary routine.
- Eat plenty of green vegetables and fiber rich foods.
- Smoking should be strictly prohibited.
- Stress and tensions should be avoided.
- Alcohol or any sort of injurious wine should not be taken in.
- Use of certain drugs should be under certain limit, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
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