How serious is blood in the stool? Go to the doc on 1st occurrence?

How serious is it to find blood in one’s stool? Should one make an appt with the doc the first time one sees it, or is it standard practice to see if it happens 1 or 2 more times before worrying about it?

What kind of blood? Fresh, red blood is common to see with hemorrhoids. If that is the problem, if it isn’t chronic usually little worry. Occult blood in the stool is much more a worry. However, this usually isn’t visually obvious.

First of all, IANAD

If you are depositing something looking coffee grounds in your toilet bowl, get thee to a phycisian.

If you see bright red blood, you probably have hemorrhoids or a torn blood vessel. Keep an eye on it (as it were) and see how uncomfortable it gets. You will now how much discomfort you can stand in that area pretty quickly.

But the first situation needs medical attention much more promptly.

Thanks all. I’m really just asking in general, not because I had a recent occurrence.

If this is just asking in general, then I can give some general information.

There is a difference between blood in your stool and blood on your stool.

If you see some red blood streaked on your stool and perhaps some blood on your tissue, it is likely something right at the anus. Most likely an anal fissure or a hemorrhoid. These typically heal on their own with stool softeners and Sitz baths. Remember that a few drops of blood can make the whole toilet bowl red/pink.

If you have red blood as part of your stool, this is more worrisome and could indicate a bleed higher up in your intestines, but typically past the first part of your small intestine. This kind of bleeding should be evaluated by your MD.

If you see ‘black tarry’ stools then this is typically indicative of a bleed even higher up. Usually in the stomach or beginning of the small intestine (e.g. ulcer). The blood is partially digested and hence comes out black and tarry looking. This kind of bleeding should also be evaluated by your MD.

Coffee grounds are usually used to describe vomiting of partially digested blood.

USCDiver, MD

Thanks USCDiver.

In the case of “red blood as part of your stool”, should one go to the doc the 1st time it’s seen? Or can it wait for a 2nd or 3rd occurence?

How about in the case of “black tarry stools”?

Call and ask, speak to his Nurse. A run to the ER is not nessesary, but a call is certainly in order.

This also depends on your personal Medical History to a degree, of course.

It rather depends, doesn’t it?

If you’ve got something serious waiting the week that it might take to get another one or two occurrences could make a big difference.

Like DrDeth says, call your family doctor, and ask what you should do. Many would schedule someone over 40 with PR bleeding and no haemorrhoids for a colonoscopy, just to be safe.