Columnists :: Ask the Doc
Ask the Doc :: The bloody truth
Dear Doctor Jason,
I went to the bathroom yesterday (#2) and noticed there was blood in the bowl - freaked me out. The blood was bright red - and I noticed that my bowel movement hurt coming out. Today there’s no blood at all. Is this cause for concern?
Doctor Jason’s Response:
Blood coming out of your body is never normal, unless you have a uterus. Most likely, it sounds like it was either a hemorrhoid or a small tear.
Hemorrhoids are fairly common, and they can be quite painful. Since it essentially is a blocked vein, it can bleed if it is ripped. Straining on the toilet tends to make them happen (and make them more painful). Other risk factors include caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and any type of anal play (whether it be a finger, a hand, a toy, or a silo).
You can also just have a small tear in the skin near the hole, which typically occurs because of straining or spreading the cheeks too much. If the bleeding continues for more than 2 days, or if the pain is quite severe, then you should see your doctor.
Dr. Faulhaber is a graduate of Tulane University in Psychology and Cellular and Molecular Biology and received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He performed his residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where he then served as a Chief Resident in Internal Medicine. He completed his fellowship in Infectious Diseases at New York University, where he specialized in HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and fungal infections. Since fellowship, he has been working as an Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases physician at Fenway Community Health in Boston. He is a Clinical Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and he is affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He has been the lead author or co-author of several journal articles and textbook chapters on infections with HIV, other viruses, bacteria, and fungi. He is also accredited by the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
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