Blood in your bowel movements? 6 foods that cause ‘blood’ in stools

Deborah James discusses 'scary' bowel cancer symptoms

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Seeing blood in your poo or blood when you wipe after going to the toilet is a cause for concern. You should never ignore bleeding after a bowel movement, as it is a well-known symptom of bowel cancer. But what could be causing “blood” in your stools?

If you notice blood in your stools, in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper after you wipe, you should make an appointment with your GP to rule out any serious health conditions.

However, while bleeding after a bowel movement can be a symptom of bowel cancer, it can also be caused by an anal fissure, piles, constipation or by foods you eat.

An anal fissure is a tear near your anus, causing pain and bleeding, but the symptoms can mirror those of bowel cancer so you should get it checked by a doctor.

But what foods can cause your poo to appear bloody?

Some bright red foods or those containing red food colouring can change the colour of your stools.

Beetroots and beetroot juice can make your stools look bloody, as well as tomato juice.

Cranberries, cranberry juice and watermelon are also common culprits when it comes to turning poo a dark red colour.

In addition, eating black liquorice, blueberries and lots of leafy vegetables can make your poo a darker colour, which also could be mistaken for blood.

So, before you start panicking about bleeding after you’ve been to the toilet, think back over what you’ve eaten recently.

However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

So don’t immediately write it off as something in your diet, it’s worth getting it checked by a professional.

Bowel Cancer UK says: “There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements (poo).

“Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer.

“Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.”

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What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

The earlier bowel cancer is diagnosed, the better chance of treating it effectively.

Unfortunately, many Britons are too embarrassed to go and speak to their doctor about what’s going on with their bottom.

Although you might feel awkward, it’s extremely important to get any symptoms of bowel cancer checked by a doctor.

Speaking to your doctor about your poo might feel strange, but it could save your life.

According to Bowel Cancer UK, these are the main symptoms of bowel cancer:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit – this could mean a change in the consistency of your stools, going to the toilet more often than usual, or feeling as though you can’t fully empty your bowels when you go to the toilet.
  • Unexplained weight loss – this might be accompanied by losing your appetite or feeling too bloated to eat.
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason – bowel cancer can cause anaemia, which leaves you feeling exhausted.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

To keep an eye on any changes to your bathroom habits, it’s a good idea to keep a diary.

This way, you can provide your doctor with plenty of information about the symptoms you’re experiencing, the frequency and how long they’ve persisted.

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