Poop Question

How do you know if you have blood in your stool?
Is it the color of blood?
The reason I ask is because my friend told me if your stool has black in it, then its blood.
Is this true?

IANAD butt I believe it might depend on when the blood comes into the equation. If you’re bleeding from your stomach and the blood is partially digested, I’ve heard it takes on a tar-like appearance. If however the blood is from a tear in your rectum or something just before the stool is released then my guess is it would still be in it’s more familiar form.

There are pads available that you can put in the toilet water to detect the presence of even small amounts of blood. I believe it’s for a prostate exam or something.

Again, my experience here is pretty darn limited.

Stool is full of old blood (pigment), aka, bilirubin, this is what makes poop brown, I believe. Not
to be confused with a name here: Billy Rubin. A lack of bilirubin should cause a lighter poop, just
my guess, I’m sure a doc be here in a moment to cofirm/deny this.

"Normally the body produces a total of about 260 mg of bilirubin per day. Almost 99 per cent of this is excreted in the feces; the remaining 1 per cent is excreted in the urine as “urobilinogen” UROBILINOGEN. "

“bilirubin, this is what makes poop brown, I believe. Not
to be confused with a name here: Billy Rubin”

Damn handy, that was hilarious.

What makes shit brown?

If you’re freaked out because your poop was black, be sure to note that several food dyes can make your poop black. If you eat those sugar cookies that have the seasonal pictures in the middle - especially those halloween ones that were black with the white bats in the middle - you can count on black poop. Capn Crunch Oops all Berries will get you every time as well. :slight_smile:

So will Pepto-Bismol.

Best answer, though: see your doctor. Bright red probably isn’t a big worry (although you will be SORE), but black, tarry stool means you’re BLEEDING somewhere.

Blood means no foolin’…see a doctor!

In a night of depression, I consumed what we in my college dorm referred to as a “line of Oreos” (i.e. one whole row of a package).

I thought I had an ulcer or stomach cancer for several days as that material made its way out of my intestinal tract.

Thats funny, but don’t black stools mean you usually are getting a lot of iron & this is supposed to be cool?

If your’re bleeding from higher up in the GI tract, say esophagus-stomach-duodenum, the blood gets partially digested. If there is enough bleeding, this can lend to your feces a black, tar-like appearence. It will also be thick, sticky, and foul-smelling (that is, more than usual-- the guy who asked “Why do my farts smell good?” notwithstanding). There are other things that can cause such an appearance, most notably excessive iron ingestion,* gobs of black licorice, and so forth.

(*In response to what someone said about iron: You can absolutely over do it iron-wise. If you pop enough of the stuff it can lead to acute toxicity which may require emergency treatment. If you ingest less than that but still too much you can develop chronic iron overload. Then iron can deposit in and damage heart, liver, pancreas, and other vital vittles. There’s a disease- hemochromatosis- in which people have a genetic disposition to absorb and keep too much iron, and they develop chronic iron overload from even a normal diet. The treatment? Regular blood letting to keep the system cranking out red blood cells and thus using up the excess iron. But I digress.)

If your’re bleeding from the middle GIT, say most of the small intestine to the mid large intestine, your stool may contain some partially digested blood and some undigested (red) blood. The key here is the red blood will be mixed into the stool. How you determine this is up to you.

If you are bleeding from the lower GIT, say middle of large intestine to anus, your stool should only contain bright red (or frank) blood. In this case it will be coating the outside of your feces, on the toilet paper, and maybe soiling the Tidy Bowel Man. By far the most common common cause of this kind of bleeding- and GIT bleeding overall- are hemorrhiods, relatively harmless but can be uncomfortable.

General adivice is if you notice any blood in your stool, or if you have any new change of bowel habit or stool appearance that persists, you should get it checked out by a doctor. Chances are it’s something harmless, but you never know.

And by the way, what makes feces brown is stercobilin. This starts out as bilirubin, as someone suggested, but bilirubin is yellow (it’s what builds up in a jaundiced person’s blood and gives them that golden glow). Bilirubin is altered by bacteria in the colon, which then turns it from yellow to brown.

If you’re worried about blood in the stool there’s a simple screening test that your doctor can perform. Basically you are give a test card upon which you smear a very small amount of stool. The card can then be returned to the doctor’s office where a reagent is added that changes color if hemoglobin is present. However, to avoid a false test you have to avoid some things for a couple of days before doing this: red meat, which contains hemoglobin/myoglobin; aspirin, which can cause minute bleeding from the GI tract; and horseradish, which is the source of an enzyme used in the reagent itself.

Basically you are given

dwyr, yeah I know about that test, but old blood is naturally present in stools,
so how do they know one from the other?

Thank you all for your helpful answers.

I was asking basically because I freaked when I saw my uhm…poop the other day. My stomach has been hurting off and on throughout the week. I came to the conclusion that I might have a bleeding ulcer. But I’m not a doctor. I do not have a doctor either. No insurance = no help for me. I do know that if things get bad I can go to the hospital.
But for now, I think it might not be that serious. Stools seem okay and I’m keeping a lookout.

If you want free medical care, call your local hospital & talk with them about it.
BTW, far as I know in the US, no doctor can refuse to treat you if you don’t have insurance.

If you want free medical care, call your local hospital & talk with them about it.
BTW, far as I know in the US, no doctor can refuse to treat you if you don’t have insurance.

handy, I seriously want you to stay away from any thread that is even remotely medical-related. You spead too much misinformation.

This is a formal warning. Do not do this again.

The test I was referring to for fecal occult blood detects specifically the heme portion of hemoglobin. Heme is basically a ring-structure molecule with an Fe atom at the center. Fresh blood or even older blood that originates from the intestine itself can thus be detected by the fecal occult (or guiac) test. When red cells in the body reach the end of their effective life they are broken down and certain by-products eventually excreted giving stool and urine their distinctive colors. But the heme portion is usually scavenged and reused by the body to conserve iron if I recall any of my past Biochem correctly, so it doesn’t appear in the stool in any appreciable amount.

I really have to stop posting on the fly…

In my first post I was a little garbled. Horseradish should be avoided because the enzyme horseradish peroxidase has the same type of activity with the reagent as the heme portion of hemoglobin and could therefore cause a false positive test.