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Bowel cancer symptoms: Bloody stools – are they caused by haemorrhoids or the disease?


A diet high in red or processed meats, being overweight and drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing bowel cancer. If you’ve already notice blood coming from your behind, you might be rightly concerned. The NHS make clear that for bloody stools to be considered a symptom of bowel cancer, it has to follow certain criteria. For instance, more than 90 percent of people with bowel cancer will experience bloody stools with one of the following other signs:

  • A persistent change in bowel habit
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort, or bloating brought on by eating

Changes in bowel habits

This symptom of bowel cancer means you’re “pooing more often, with looser, runner poos”.

This can be accompanied by stomach pain, and this could lead to a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss.

What about those 10 percent of people who aren’t likely to experience a combination of bowel cancer symptoms?

The first thing one must do is rule out the possibility blood in the stools could be caused by haemorrhoids (otherwise known as piles).

Piles are “lumps inside and around your anus”, which can cause bright red blood after you poo.

READ MORE: Have you noticed a change in the flow of your pee? It could indicate prostate cancer

Treatments can include creams to ease the pain, itching and swelling, or cold packs to ease discomfort. Options are also available to help constipation and soften poo.

The NHS advises people to “gently push a pile back inside” and to take a paracetamol if it hurts.

Exercise is encouraged, alongside cutting down on alcohol and caffeinated beverages to avoid constipation.

A warm bath can help to ease itching and pain, and wiping your bottom with damp toilet paper is advised.

It’s likely a digital rectal examination will follow alongside an examination of your stomach.

Although these tests can feel embarrassing for some, they’re over within a minute or two.

The GP may also book you in for a blood test to check if you have iron deficiency anaemia.

If the doctor is concerned you may have bowel cancer you will be referred to the hospital for a flexible sigmoidoscopy.



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