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What Can Cause Bloody Stool in Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman should always consult her gynecologist if she has concerns about bloody stools or any other health issue.
Inflammatory bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may lead to rectal bleeding.
Bloody stool during pregnancy is most commonly causes by internal or external hemorrhoids.
A diagram showing ulcerative colitis and other colon problems that could cause bloody stool.
Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are several potential causes of bloody stool in pregnancy, most of which do not pose any significant risks to the mother or the fetus. Internal or external hemorrhoids are the most common reasons for bloody stool during pregnancy and may develop as a result of pelvic pressure or constipation. Anal fissures, food poisoning, or parasitic infections may also cause this symptom. Inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or irritable bowel syndrome may lead to rectal bleeding as well. All cases of bloody stool should be reported to a doctor for further medical evaluation.

Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are common causes of bloody stool in pregnancy. A hemorrhoid develops when the veins in and around the anal canal become swollen, often causing pain, itching, and bleeding. During pregnancy, constipation and increased pelvic pressure are the most frequent contributing factors to the development of hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels can occur on the outside of the anus or inside the rectum, where they cannot be seen. An anal fissure is a tear in the tissue of the anus and can sometimes cause a large amount of blood in the stool.

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Food poisoning and parasitic infections may cause bloody stool in pregnancy. A doctor should be notified immediately if the bloody stool is accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever. With early treatment, most pregnant women experience a full recovery without any negative effects on the developing fetus. Extra fluids should be consumed if vomiting or diarrhea become excessive in order to prevent dehydration. Extreme cases of dehydration may require temporary treatment in a hospital setting so that fluids can be introduced into the body intravenously.

Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis are possible causes of bloody stool in pregnancy. Symptoms of these inflammatory bowel diseases are similar, and an accurate diagnosis must be made by a qualified physician. Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and excessive intestinal gas are among the most common symptoms of these disorders.

Depending on the exact causes of bloody stool, over-the-counter or prescription medications may be used to treat individual symptoms. Herbal remedies may also be helpful, although caution should be exercised when taking any medications or using topical preparations during pregnancy. A doctor should always be consulted before beginning any new treatment program for bloody stool in pregnancy.

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Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

I want to make a clarification here that if stool has bright red blood, this means that there is external bleeding or that the bleeding has occurred recently. Stomach ulcers, for example, can cause bleeding and the blood will show up in stool. But this blood is not bright red. Instead it’s brown and it looks like ground coffee.

bluedolphin
Post 2

@ysmina-- Constipation is very common during pregnancy unfortunately. I think it’s the combination of hormonal changes, weird food cravings and the pressure of the uterus on the intestines.

Are you using hemorrhoid ointment, doing sitz baths and eating lots of fiber? You need to eat things like vegetables, fruit, lentils and beans every day. Snack on dry apricots or prunes and eat fruit whole. If you have to take fiber supplements, do so. You can also use glycerin suppositories during pregnancy, they are not harmful.

The point I’m trying to make is that you need to treat your constipation. Because if the constipation goes away, the hemorrhoids will heal and it will not return. Hemorrhoids develop due to excessive straining and very hard stools during bowel movements. If you resolve the underlying cause, then the symptoms like pain and bloody stool will go away as well.

It’s a great idea to see a doctor for hemorrhoids that are taking too long to heal. And there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Many pregnant women go through this.

ysmina
Post 1

Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been experiencing constipation. I have hemorrhoids and it won’t go away. I’m finding blood when I wipe after a bowel movement and it’s scary. I feel embarrassed about seeing a doctor but I think I will.

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