Blood in the anus / intestines: what does it mean?

Hemorrhoids, anal cracks, inflammation, and cancer most commonly cause bleeding from the intestines, stool, or anal area. 

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As a colon hydrotherapist, I have noticed that people are sensitive in cultural terms to discuss their anus. Very few know what their anus looks like or when it is unhealthy. The anus is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Pathological changes are usually immediately noticeable in a disturbing way. Itching, oozing, pain, swelling, bulges or lumps, the feeling of incomplete emptying or a leak, i.e. fecal incontinence – all of this annoys those affected considerably.

If blood is visible on the stool (technical term: hematochezia), this is always perceived as worrying, even if it is only traces. It is all the more important to overcome inhibitions and concerns and to go to the doctor when dealing with such complaints.

Or if you experience symptoms such as a change in bowel motions, abdominal pain, unusual bloating, flatulence, and possibly tiredness and weight loss.

Widespread disease hemorrhoids, anal tears, cancer

With the years of life, the risk of pathological developments generally increases. This is accompanied by an increased risk of bleeding, indirectly, for example through certain drugs, or directly as a result of gastrointestinal diseases. Bulges in the intestinal wall (diverticulum) in the large intestine, inflammation as well as benign and malignant growths in the large intestine and rectum are among the leading causes of bleeding in the digestive tract.

Problem # 1 in the anal canal is hemorrhoids, especially between the ages of 45 and 65. It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of adults in Western countries will experience some form of hemorrhoid at some point in their lives. Complaints caused by hemorrhoids are thus widespread.

Anal cracks (anal fissures) are also a common evil. In both cases, leaking blood – at the anus, on toilet paper or stool – is a typical symptom. Both can be extremely painful, and are associated with a feeling of swelling, itching and oozing.

Causes of bleeding in the anal area

  • Anal tear (anal fissure)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal prolapse, rectal prolapse
  • Anal vein thrombosis (called “external hemorrhoids”)
  • Anal fistulas and anal abscess
  • Anal rim cancer (anal skin cancer)

Causes of bleeding in the large intestine, rectum, small intestine

  • Colon diverticulum
  • Intestinal polyps
  • Inflammation in the large and small intestines
  • Colon cancer (rectal and colon cancer)
  • Inflammation of the rectum (for example proctitis and “pouchitis”), rectal ulcer
  • Small intestine: invagination of the intestine, Meckel’s diverticulum, tumors

Other causes of bleeding in the intestine: vascular diseases & Co.

  • Vascular occlusion: mesenteric artery infarction
  • Rather rare: vascular malformations such as angiodysplasia, Osler’s disease (congenital telangiectasia), aortointestinal fistula, intestinal (visceral) arterial aneurysm with connection to the intestine
  • Offshoots from the uterus: endometriosis in the intestine

Blood from the intestine: diagnosis and therapy

Blood on the stool, especially intestinal bleeding, must be clarified and, depending on the type and cause, treated promptly or urgently. First of all, the question arises as to what medication is currently being taken, for example, whether the person affected is receiving anticoagulant therapy (blood thinning).

A doctor responsible would also like to know whether there are any indications of a pathological tendency to bleed. Indications can be frequent bruises and repeated nosebleeds, in women also increased and/or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Inspection of the stomach and intestines

When it comes to the digestive tract, such as the large intestine and rectum, these areas can be easily examined from the inside.

At the same time, the doctor can take small tissue samples or remove tumors (polyps) in the intestine so that both can be examined more closely afterward. With the removal of intestinal polyps, doctors and patients have a concrete and good option at hand, for example, to prevent colon cancer. Thanks to the colonoscopy and tissue examinations, other intestinal diseases can also be reliably identified and controlled.

Special diets, such as low-lactose or gluten-free, are of course also part of the treatment repertoire for the gastrointestinal tract.

What you can do for a healthy bowel

Widespread intestinal and anal diseases, such as hemorrhoids, can be countered with a healthy, active lifestyle. A good diet helps with regular bowel activity – which can avoid many problems in the digestive tract.

This works by eating a balanced and high-fiber diet, which includes 5 daily portions of vegetables and fruits in a completely natural way. In addition, there is regular physical exercise (recommended: at least 30 minutes a day as a “maintenance dose”; you can increase your fitness with 60 “active minutes”) and cut back on alcohol and smoking.

And those who save on dietary fat, salt and sugar are doing something sustainably for their blood vessels too – including those in the intestines. Which has the advantage that the body feels easier overall, because you can also cope better with your body weight, the blood flows more freely.

Last but not least, good hygiene, including during sex, and skin-friendly clothing help avoid irritation and pathological development in the anal area.

Depending on your issue, Colonic irrigation might not be possible, but we have many other options to clean the colon and support your digestion.

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