It’s understandable to be concerned if your number 2s end with you seeing red—blood, that is. But don’t panic. Whether the symptom is due to a common issue or something more serious, there are simple steps to take to protect your health.
Here’s what you can do if you notice that you have blood in your stool:
Change how you wipe.
If you see a small amount of blood when you wipe, it could possibly be from an anal fissure—a small tear in the lining of your anus. This can result from wiping too much, or using toilet paper that’s too rough. To avoid this issue, use softer toilet paper or pre-moistened wipes when you go.
Increasing your water and fiber intake can help improve the texture of your poop so it’s easier to pass, and thus won’t result in bleeding.
Eat more fiber.
Anal fissures can also result from passing stool that’s too hard. Increasing your water and fiber intake can help improve the texture of your poop so it’s easier to pass, and thus won’t result in bleeding.
You can get more fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods, but it’s hard for most people to get an adequate amount of fiber this way (only 5 percent of Americans do). Taking a daily fiber supplement can help. Consider an all-natural brand like Bellway, which contains organic psyllium husk fiber and no artificial ingredients. As with all supplements, confirm with your doctor that Bellway is right for you before adding to your daily routine.
Tell your doctor.
If changing your wiping or dietary habits doesn’t help, or you notice a lot of blood in your stool, it’s best to pay your doctor a visit. Bloody stool can be an indicator of a serious condition, like Crohn’s disease, colitis, or colon cancer. On the other hand, it could be due to something more easily treatable, like hemorrhoids.
Either way, it’s always best to be on the safe side, so don’t be afraid to tell your doctor if you’ve noticed blood in your stool.