DARK STOOLS: BLOODY OR TARRY STOOLS: Indicative of Digestive Tract Disorders

Blood in your feces often indicate that your digestive tract is injured or has a disorder. Your doctor may use the term Melena to describe black, tarry and foul-smelling stools. On the other hand, Hematochezia is used to describe red or maroon-colored stool.

Blood in the stool may arise anywhere in the digestive tract, from your mouth to the anus. In some cases, it is so small that you can rarely see it. The only test that can detect its presence is through the Fecal Occult Blood Test. To further assess the claim and to therefore make a diagnosis, your doctor will use endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or special x-ray studies.

When your stool is black, it means that the blood comes from the upper portion of the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Some parts include the esophagus, stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. Since blood has been subjected to the body’s digestive juices, the stool will definitely look like tar once it comes out. The more common causes of upper GI bleeding are stomach ulcers, which are the result of Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Aspirin intake.

bloodystool On the other hand, Maroon-colored stools or bright-red blood suggests that the disorder comes from the lower GI tract, usually from the large intestine or the rectum. The two most common causes of lower Gastrointestinal bleeding are Hemorrhoids and Diverticulitis. Hemorrhoids are dilated portions of anal veins while Diverticulitis is an inflammation of an abnormal pouch in the colon. There are times when the stool is made of bright red stools, which is an indication of a massive or rapid bleeding in the stomach.

Here, you will learn some of the specific causes of bloody or tarry stools. Melena will give you a clue on some upper GI tract disorders. These include: Bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer, Gastritis, Trauma or foreign body, vascular malformation, bowel ischemia and Mallory-Weiss tear which an esophageal tear is caused by excessive vomiting. On the other hand, Hematochezia is related to the following conditions: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hemorrhoids, Anal fissures and Colon Polyps or Colon cancer.

When you already notice blood or any other changes in the stool, it is advisable that you call your doctor immediately. Sometimes, you may think that the bleeding is caused by Hemorrhoids. However, it is good that the doctor should examine you. In children, you may sometimes notice blood in their stools. Don’t fret though, because these may only be caused by milk allergies or constipation.

Upon check-up, your doctor will first gather the medical history. This will then be followed by an examination of the abdomen and rectum. Stool samples may be taken to assess for parasites or other organisms that could cause bleeding stools. When you are already experiencing severe bleeding, admission to the hospital may be needed to monitor your status. Sometimes, blood transfusion may be necessary. Some diagnostic procedures that can be performed include: Blood studies, Colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, Angiography, Barium Studies and Stool Culture.

There are a lot of ways for you to prevent the emergence of diseases that may give out Bloody or Tarry stools. First, eat a lot of vegetables and foods rich in dietary fiber and low in fat. Next, drink alcohol moderately because large intake of which could damage the stomach lining. Do not smoke to reduce the incidence of peptic ulcers. Also, try to avoid stress as much as possible. The earlier you detect Gastrointestinal diseases, the more chances you’ll have that your treatment will be successful.