Many have experienced diarrhea at some point in life but it usually settles on its own in a few days. When it comes to acute bleeding diarrhea, it might be an indication of a serious ailment and must be treated as a medical emergency.
It is important to note that rectal bleeding might be an indication that there is something wrong and it is essential to consult a doctor to determine the cause and proper treatment can be started.
Gastroenteritis is characterized by inflammation of the stomach or intestines due to a bacteria, virus or parasite from contaminated water or food, reaction to certain drugs or food allergy.
Most cases are considered infectious and bleeding diarrhea is the usual indication. Eating poorly cooked beef or poultry, eggs and unpasteurized juice or milk increases the risk for gastroenteritis.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of inflammatory ailments involving the bowel such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a non-specific inflammatory response that affects the mucosa and submucosa of the colon. As for Crohn’s disease, it is a granulomatous inflammatory response affecting the entire thickness of the bowel wall. Bleeding diarrhea is likely to occur in ulcerative colitis but can also be an indication of Crohn’s disease.
Individuals older than 60 with bleeding diarrhea might have ischemic colitis. This develops if the flow of blood to a section of the colon is limited or blocked.
The lack of blood to the tissues results to poor oxygen and potential damage and even tissue death. Once the tissues are damaged, they start to leak blood. The contributing factors include congestive heart failure, dehydration, recent surgery and infections.
Polyps or cancer
In uncommon but serious instances, bleeding diarrhea might be a sign of a polyp or colon cancer. A polyp is a mass that form on the colon lining and might oftentimes become cancerous.
Colon cancer is likely to develop among individuals older than 40 especially those who have a family history of the disease.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on bleeding diarrhea is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this digestive issue by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.