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Blood In Stool During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

5 min read

Blood in the stool during pregnancy can be frightening. But if the quantity of blood is small then there is nothing to be alarmed about. Changes in bowel movements are very common, particularly during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. The expecting mothers can experience constipation or diarrhea, or spot a few drops of blood in stool. Though a common condition in pregnancy, it can be quite disturbing. But before you hit the panic button, read on to know what it means, its possible causes and how to deal with blood in stool during the pregnancy.
blood in stool

  • Causes Of Blood In Stool During Pregnancy
  • Symptoms Of Blood In Stool During Pregnancy
  • When Should You Tell Your Doctor About Blood In Stool During Pregnancy?
  • Treatment For Blood In Stool During Pregnancy?

Causes Of Blood In Stool During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the blood may appear in stool because of several reasons:

  1. Constipation: The most common cause of blood in the stool during pregnancy is constipation. Most women experience constipation while they are pregnant. It could either be mild or even can be a very severe where passing stool turns into a painful experience. Some reasons why pregnant women feel constipated are:
    • Not having enough fiber in the daily diet
    • Less intake of water and other fluids
    • Intake of high dosage of iron supplements
    • Pregnancy hormone progesterone along with other muscles will relax the stomach and intestinal muscle. The wavy movement of the muscle is interrupted and the food moves relatively slower. This, when coupled with low intake of water and fiber, can result in constipation
  2. Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that cause distress and bleeding. Hemorrhoids are quite common during pregnancy specially the third trimester. The size of hemorrhoids varies from the size of a peanut to a size of a grape. It may remain inside the rectum or could project through the anus. It can lead to rectal bleeding, particularly during the bowel movement resulting in the bloody stool. Hemorrhoids are caused due to:
    • The straining during the bowel movement can cause hemorrhoid. Therefore, constipation, which is common in the course of pregnancy, can cause or worsen the hemorrhoids
    • The pressure put by the uterus on blood vessels that receives blood from the lower part of the body. This slows down the blood flow from the lower part of the body towards the heart. This results in increased pressure on the veins below the uterus, making it dilated, and swollen resulting in hemorrhoids
  3. Anal fistula: A fistula is a passage between the rectum area to the skin around the anus. Persistent discharge of pus or blood through the opening in the anal skin is one of the significant symptoms of anal fistula
  4. Anal fissure: An anal fissure is an exceptionally painful and severe state in which there are cuts in the anal area. Even a little strain in the anal area during passing the stool can result in the cracking of the fissure resulting in blood in the stool. Anal fissure develops due to:
    • Hardened, large stool due to constipation
    • Secondary infection in anal area
    • Trauma caused in the anal area
  5. Anal tear: Anal fissure gets worse, become bigger, and gives way to anal tear. Anal tear is associated with blood in the stool
  6. Diverticulosis: Diverticula are little pockets that project from the wall of colon and are generally known as diverticula. Sometimes it can be infected, swollen lead to bleeding and this condition is called diverticulosis. If this happens, you can spot blood in your stool
  7. Polyps and Cancer: Bleeding from the rectal area is can also be due to cancer. Polyps are benign growth that occur in colon and when these polyps become big in size, they can cause bleeding. Some of these polyps can turn cancerous
  8. Proctitis and Colitis: Sometimes the rectum or the colon can get inflamed which can result in ulcers. The swelling in the rectum is referred as proctitis and the swelling in the colon is known as colitis. There are many reasons that could cause ulcers on the inside surface of the bowel area. These ulcers can cause bleeding and you can see spots of blood in the stool

Symptoms Of Blood In Stool During Pregnancy

  • Darkish, reddish or maroon colored stool
  • Pain in the rectal area while passing stool
  • Bright red spots of blood in the stool
  • Some time you may feel dizzy while passing stool
  • Sometimes, your doctor may ask you to go for a stool test, and the result may come back as positive for an occult blood loss. It means that there is blood present in your stool, but you are not able to see it

woman sitting in bathroom

When Should You Tell Your Doctor About Blood In Stool During Pregnancy?

Blood in the stool is a very normal phenomenon during pregnancy. Therefore, spotting a little quantity like a few drops of blood in the stool nothing to be stressed about! Also, make sure that the blood is not from the vaginal area. Once you are certain that the blood is just from your rectal area and not from your vagina, it is not something you should be worried about. Obviously, you need to keep your doctor updated regarding any changes that you see throughout pregnancy. So don’t forget to mention this on your next visit or over the next phone call. But here are some situations when you should contact your doctor immediately:

  • If you are not sure the blood is coming from the rectal area and worried if could also be from your vagina
  • If you are not suffering from constipation and have not experienced any discomfort while passing stool but still you are spotting the blood in the stool
  • If you feel severe pain in abdomen, fever, nausea, and vomiting along with bloody stool
  • If you experience excessive bleeding that more blood than a few drops in the stool
  • If you experience diarrhea along with blood in stool for more than two days
  • If you have difficulty passing stools and have not passed stools for a few days
  • If you have no control over your bowel movement that is involuntarily passing stools even while you are not in the washroom
  • If you are suddenly losing weight without any apparent reason and also spot blood in your stool

Treatment For Blood In Stool During Pregnancy?

Here are some measures, which helps to alleviate the discomfort and pain that come hand in hand with blood in stool:

  • If the underlying issue is constipation, the doctor will suggest some measures for keeping constipation at bay like drinking more water, including more fiber in your diet, regular exercise, etc.
  • The doctor will prescribe some ointments to apply in fissures or anal tear to heal the skin
  • Cold compresses and warm sitz baths can offer relief from rectal bleeding caused by hemorrhoids
  • Safe topical anesthetic (to numb the rectal area) prescribed by your doctor also helps to diminish the pain
  • Always wash the rectal area gently after every bowel movement and dry it tenderly with a soft unscented tissue
  • Your doctor can also suggest you some probiotic formulas can also reduce the pressure you experience while passing stool which can cause blood in the stool. These supplements may lead to an improvement in your bowel function. Probiotics are considered very safe and thus can consumed without any concern even in your pregnancy
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