Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blood in Stool: How Serious Is It?

Blood in stool is a fairly common problem affecting all age groups. You will be surprised to know that most of the time the causes of rectal bleeding are minor and treatable; in other words, they are benign in nature. Thus, it is very important to understand the nature of the problem and associated risks to keep your mind at rest.  I can understand the anxiousness after anal bleeding, patients start thinking about colorectal cancer without knowing their actual risks.

Just for your information, more than 90% of the colorectal cancer is diagnosed in older people, i.e. at age 50 or above. Young adult population is less frequently affected. This is a kind of relief for adult population, but in reality colorectal cancer is not the most common cause of rectal bleeding in any age group. If you look at the proportion of people presenting with anal bleeding, only small number of cases are actually diagnosed with colon cancer. Understanding these facts is a great reassurance for the patients who is waiting for test result.

Many times rectal bleeding is the first sign of disease, so proper evaluation is always required. There are many causes of blood in stool - some are more common at younger age such as hemorrhoids, fissures, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease; while others are common at older age like diverticulitis, angidysplagia, malignancy. The risk of colon cancer increases as you get older, similarly having a family history of colon cancer, sedentary life style, diabetes, smoking, obesity etc are also associated with increased risk for colon cancer.

I am sure by now you must have guessed that most of the time you are in safe side, but  you should always seek medical help to confirm the diagnosis. You may speculate the potential cause of rectal bleeding based on other associated symptoms, but it is often very difficult for layman to interpret it accurately.

The main purpose of this article is to aware our readers about the potential cause of rectal bleeding, and what to expect after evaluation and investigation. This article also serves for reducing the anxiety and provide much reassurance for a while you wait for physician visit. You can read more about colon cancer from this link, click here.


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