The appearance of red or black stools (melena) is always a cause for concern, but why do they appear and what are their main causes? Are they curable?

The stools are a representation of the health and state of our body. Any difference in what is considered “normal” within precisely this process could be considered as not so serious problems such as diarrhea, or gas, but what happens when we finish the digestion process, and at the time of evacuating the feces, they have a different color to normal?

It is normal that depending on the color of the stool we feel worried or not, especially when its appearance or texture is not the same as it was days ago. And, above all, when that appearance becomes different and with signs that are actually very alarming.

In the case of red or black stools, they have different causes for their appearance, although it is true that they all have or present something in common: the presence of abundant blood in them.

They become, therefore, a medical problem that must be supervised and analyzed by a specialist. For this reason, it is essential to discover the causes why they appear and what we should do about it.

What are red stools?

As has been said before, red or black stools are evacuated stools accompanied by blood in them, these can be of two types, becoming these:

  • Tarry stools (also called melena): These are black, foul-smelling stools resulting from bleeding in the upper digestive tract.
  • Hematochezia: stools mixed with light and dark blood.
  • Rectal bleeding: stools accompanied by light red blood, these are caused by bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, hemorrhoids, or severe bleeding in the upper parts of the digestive tract.

It is also possible that there is occult blood in the stool, which consists of the non-visible presence of blood in the stool, which can only be detected through the use of a clinical test called the guaiac test or stool guaiac test.

What are the causes of red or black stools? Why do they appear?

There are different causes for the appearance of red stools in an individual, although they can be alarming causes such as intestinal cancer, they can also be much less complicated and easy to treat problems.

In fact, in most cases they tend to be something harmless. Although it is recommended, and necessary, to go to the doctor to clarify the specific causes and clear up any existing doubts.

The different causes that can lead to the appearance of red stools in an individual are listed below:

  • Hemorrhoids: the appearance of bright red blood covering the stool is normally due to the appearance of hemorrhoids in an individual, these are varicose veins or inflammations of the veins in the rectum and anus, they are pads of sub mucosal tissue where the venues and arterioles are contained superficial of the anal canal, the causes of the appearance of hemorrhoids in a person can be for different reasons, these being hereditary factors, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, nutritional factors, laxative abuse and pregnancy.
  • Intestinal diverticula: these are small invaginations that occur in the intestine, it is a small bag or sac that forms with the wall of the intestine and is located in the large intestine or colon.
  • Colon cancer: it is a type of cancer that affects the large intestine and the rectum, this cancer can be caused by hereditary factors, caused by Gardner syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, Lynch syndrome, chronic intestinal diseases and it can also be caused by a poor diet that is high in fat and low in fiber.

Treatment of red or black stools

You should go to a professional doctor to carry out the different necessary tests on the patient and make an accurate diagnosis of the cause for the appearance of red stools, once these tests have been carried out, the treatment is carried out, which may vary depending on the patient. The cause that has been diagnosed.

If the bleeding is caused by colon cancer, surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be required, while if the appearance of red stools is caused by hemorrhoids, the treatment will be based on curing them.

If the bleeding is due to hemorrhoids accompanied by diarrhea, it is advisable to remove seasoned, spicy and fatty foods from the diet, likewise, alcohol consumption should be avoided, avoid straining when defecating, correct constipation if you have it, do not use paper hygienic, but a wash with cold water and many other cares that your doctor should indicate to cure hemorrhoids if you suffer from this, however, if the hemorrhoids are third or fourth degree, you will also have to proceed with surgical procedures to cure hemorrhoids in the individual.



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