The discovery of blood in the stool due to rectal bleeding is an indication of trauma to the area, the problem is often harmless and self-limiting, however there is some cause for concern and further investigation is warranted.
The color of the blood will help to indicate where the problem is originating. Blood which is bright red in color means that the site of injury is close to the anus, rectum or sigmoid colon. If the color of the blood is darker then the site of injury is further up the colon in the transverse colon. Blood which is dark and tarry may be an indication that the bleeding occured in the upper gastrointestinal tract (ulcers, inflammation).
CAUSES OF BLOOD IN THE STOOL
- perforation of the bowel wall
- cancer or a precancerous condition
- anal fissures
- straining when defacating
- colon polyps
- Crohns Disease
It is recommended to see a Healthcare professional who can give the support and assistance this requires in regards to diet, lifestyle, medications, supplements and exercise. A Naturopath will take into consideration past and present health history and family history and tailor make a regime that best suits in regards to improving her health. It is also recommended to consider having a rectal examination, anoscopy or colonoscopy to further determine the reason behind rectal bleeding.
DIET TIPS FOR BLOOD IN THE STOOL
- Ensure adequate fibre in the diet to encourage regular movement of the bowel
- Ensure adequate hydration (at least 2 liters/ day) to keep stools from drying out and hardening which contributes to straining and possible bowel
- Begin each day with a warm glass of water with 1/2 lemon squeezed in it. Lemon has a particular benefit to the health of the bowels as it cleanses the walls and stimulates peristaltic action
- Reduce red meat/ connective tissue consumption as this slows down bowel transit time and increases the risk of complications
- Increase raw fruits and vegetables in the diet to encourage bowel movement, tonify the bowels and increase fiber. Fruits and vegetables which have a demulcent (soothing) effect on the bowel and improve digestion include papaya, bananas, pineapple, lemons, beetroots and apples
- Herbal teas such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Fennel, Licorice, Aniseed may help to improve digestion, constipation and bowel health
- Increase Vitamin C rich foods in the diet
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR BLOOD IN THE STOOL
- Prevent constipation
- Improve liver and digestive function
- Avoid straining and pressure when moving your bowel and remember that exercise is a great way to move the bowel
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR BLOOD IN THE STOOL
- Prevent constipation by using a stool softener such as Aloe Vera juice, slippery elm powder or oats (porridge)
- Psyllium husks may be taken with a large glass of water at night to encourage bowel movement and elimination of feces in constipation. Please ensure that you are not dehydrated (drink plenty of water) if you decide to take psylllium
- Probiotics to recorrect and recolonise the bowels with healthy bacteria and to reduce constipation
- To improve the integrity of the bowel walls and provide demulcent effects use the following recipe – slippery elm powder, Zinc liquid, glutamine powder and Probiotic powder
- Aloe Vera juice helps to soften the stools, provide direct anti-inflammatory action to the tissues, soothe the tissue irritation and has a gentle laxative action
- Fish oil may help the bowel to stay moist and lubricated and also contain potent anti-inflammatory’s
- Herbs to improve digestive function such as St Marys, Dandelion, Bupleurum, Schizandra, Gentian, Meadowsweet, Cardamon, Agrimony, Golden Seal (wound healing), Cinnamon, Rhubarb and Atractylodes.
- Topically you may like to apply an ointment to help the area to heal if there are haemorrhoids or a lesion close to the anus. Creams which contain the following may be of assistance – Arnica, Calendula, Witch Hazel or Manuka honey
- Vitamin C and bioflavinoid are anti-oxidants may help to encourage bowel movement, elimination of wastes, peristalsis, improve bowel wall integrity, cleansing and anti-inflammatory effects
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