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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Bloody Stool
July 2001

Q. I have blood in my stool daily and it is a bright red color. I don't have any dizziness or faintness. What does this signal? Should a doctor be consulted if the condition stops?

A. The bleeding you describe should be evaluated by your doctor. It is important to make a diagnosis as to the cause of the bleeding. Several benign conditions can do this, such as hemorrhoids, but of course cancer of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions are possible as well. Depending on your age and other factors, your doctor will decide what tests are likely to be helpful. These may include sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in which the colon is viewed directly using an instrument like a small camera, or certain x-ray imaging techniques.

The American Cancer Society recommends screening tests for colon cancer at age 50 for everyone!




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