Dear Ask The Doctor: Yesterday I noticed blood in the toilet water after a bowel movement. When I wiped, there was a significant amount of blood there too, enough for concern anyway. It was bright red blood. The movement was larger than normal which leads me to think that that is the cause but I am not sure. I have gone twice since then and the 2nd time, there was a little residual blood but not much at all. This morning, there was no blood at all. I am a 31 yo male and I am in very good health. This seems to be an isolated incident. Should I wait to see if it happens again or is a one time occurance cause enough to see a doctor?
Dear Patient: Blood can be a scary site when ever it does occur. The decision to see a doctor is not an easy one - It is helpful to observe symptoms over a period of time if you are feeling otherwise well and stable. Reasons to see your doctor sooner would be an increase in rectal bleeding over time, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fevers.
Bright red blood from the rectal area most often is an indication of Hemorrhoids in young males.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anal area. The hemorrhoid may be internal or external.
Conditions that may lead to hemorrhoids include genetics, pregnancy (doesn't apply to you), obesity and heavy lifting. Other conditions that force you to strain such as constipation or persistent coughing also lead to an increased incidence of hemorrhoids.
The pain of hemorrhoids can be relieved by taking warm baths, applying ice to the area, using over the counter pain medications or hemorrhoid creams.
Future incidences of hemorrhoids can be reduced or prevented by maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fiber; drinking plenty of water; maintaining a healthy weight by exercising.
While hemorrhoids themselves are benign, a visit to the doctor is appropriate to rule out more serious causes of anal bleeding - especially when the symptoms have not resolved after 1 week.
I hope this helps