Bloody diarrhea is an uncommon condition in children and adults, it may be a sign of severe health disease.
Diarrhea is a common condition around the world, where stool becomes loose and watery, in most cases, it goes away on its own in a few days
It is estimated that about 10% of children under the age of 5 have episodes of diarrhea and about 15% of death worldwide are from diarrhea.
There are many reasons for diarrhea and poor hygiene is one of the most common reasons, other reasons include:
- Parasite infection
- food poisoning
- bacteria infection
- food Allergies (celiac diseases or lactose intolerance)
- a side effect of Medicines
- viral infection
- stomach therapy, surgery
According to a study, it is the 3rd most common cause of death among children under the age of 5 in India.
India has the highest number of diarrheal deaths in children under the age of 5, and alone were 2016 about 102,813 deaths (1)
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Reasons for blood diarrhea
There are several reasons for bloody diarrhea in children and adults including:
Ulcerative colitis is most commonly seen as bloody diarrhea with or without mucus (2).
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis often reason for bloody diarrhea and can be seen in all ages
Ulcerative colitis results in mucosal inflammation with spontaneous bleeding which can affect the colon and rectum.
Bloody diarrhea and diarrhea are two common symptoms of ulcerative colitis, among other symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
Bloody diarrhea is a presenting symptom in about 75% of children with ulcerative colitis and 25% with Crohn’s disease (3) (4).
At every age, intestinal bacterial infections are an important cause of bloody diarrhea.
More cases of bloody diarrhea are in young children resulting from an enteric infection caused by invasive bacteria (5).
Overcrowding, contaminated food, and use of public water expose children are more risk of bacterial infection
In fact, bloody diarrhea caused by intestinal infection is 15-20 higher than inflammatory bowel disease in children.
It is the most common cause of diarrhea in children (6) due to salmonella or E. coli, which can spread to each other through poor hygiene.
Many studies have shown that rotavirus is a cause of diarrhea in children in both developed and developing countries (7) (8) (9).
Remember, if the child is passing urine less and the diarrhea is going on continuously then it means that the child is deficient in water.
Symptoms of acute diarrhea caused by rotavirus include:
- watery diarrhea
Inflammatory bowel disease
IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) may occur at any age but is more likely to occur in older children.
Long-term inflammation in the digestive tract or intestine can lead to bloody diarrhea.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the main two types of IBD.
Ulcerative colitis is an IBD that causes swelling and pain in your digestive tract, affecting your colon and rectum.
Crohn’s disease cause swelling of the tissues in your digestive tract, which causes, among other IBS symptoms include:
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Blood in the stool can be a sign of bowel cancer, whereas colorectal and gastric cancer is the most common.
Gastric cancer is cancer that forms in the lining of the stomach caused by the helicobacter pylori bacterium (10)
Intestine cancer may spread to other parts of the body including:
- the lining of the abdomen
- lymph nodes
If the test confirmed that bleeding occurs due to cancer growth, then clipping, surgical, and other cancer treatments are included.
Cancer treatment depends on the form and stage of cancer, where a doctor may remove the affected part of the colon (11).
Reasons For Bloody Diarrhea In Infants and Children
Bloody diarrhea is allied with intestinal damage and nutrient deterioration in children which is more complicated than watery diarrhea.
There are several reasons for bloody diarrhea in children which lands from common to severe including:
Below 1 Year of Infants
common causes which include:
- Intestinal infection
- infant colitis which includes:
- non-specific colitis
- breast milk colitis
- cow’s milk colitis
Rare or less common causes include:
- Intestinal ischemia (a condition where blood flow to your intestines decreases)
- necrotizing enterocolitis (a serious stomach problem where swelling occurs in intestinal tissue)
- Hirschsprung’s disease (a condition that affects the large intestine and leads to problem passing stool)
- Inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s colitis, and ulcerative colitis
- systemic vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels of the walls)
- Factitious illness
Above 1 Year Aged of infants
Common causes include:
- Intestinal infection
- IBD includes – Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
- Juvenile polyp
Rare reasons include:
- Mucosal prolapse syndrome
- intestinal ischemia
- factitious illness (a mental related disorder in which a person purposely get sick or by self-injury)
- Henoch-schooling purpura (HSP) (a rare small blood vessel swelling or inflammation that occurs in children)
How To Identify Blood Diarrhea? – Signs and Symptoms
There are several signs and symptoms of bloody diarrhea which depend on the causes.
If a test or diagnosis confirmed that IBD is the reason for bloody diarrhea, then you may see these signs include:
- normal diarrhea
- blood per rectum
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- Perianal disease (a condition where inflammation occurs nearby the anus)
If abdominal cancer is the reason for bloody diarrhea then early signs and symptoms are different which include:
The early symptoms of gastric cancer include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
Later signs and symptoms may include:
- blood in stool
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- trouble in swallowing food and drinks
- abnormal weight loss
If the infection is found in the test, then signs and symptoms might be different including:
- Bloody diarrhea
- severe pain in abdominal
- stomach pain or cramps
Blood diarrhea Can Cause
Severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration and blood loss in form of diarrhea can lead to serious health issues including:
What About – The Treatment of bloody diarrhea?
A Kenya study found that sharing toilet facilities by several families was allied with bloody diarrhea.
Another study in Turkey, and Iraq also reported that contaminated water use is the most common reason for it in children.
However, separating drinking water storage and separating washing hands water were protective against bloody diarrhea (8)
Acute bloody diarrhea is a warning sign of a serious health disorder and needs quick treatment and care (9)
The doctor may recommend you oral rehydration, antibiotics pills, syrups, and injections according to your condition.
However, antibiotics and oral rehydration are used in those below 5 years of age, and which used largely in India (10)
But for some children, oral rehydration is not a sufficient treatment for bloody diarrhea because some have bacterial and parasite infections that need antimicrobial treatment.
Anti-diarrheal therapy medicine is used to treat sudden diarrhea (including traveler’s diarrhea).
However, it should be avoided in adults with bloody diarrhea or high fever because it may worsen the intestinal infections
However, it can come again if no precautions are followed, and poor hygiene is one of the most common reasons for it.
There are a few ways you can decrease your chances of having diarrhea. they include:
- Washing your hand after any activity
- drinks filtered water, and always use clean water for cooking, bathing, and drinking.
- take the Rotavirus vaccine
- and serve food quickly after preparing it.
Precaution For Travelers
- If you have been the victim of diarrhea during traveling, so do not forget to carry antibiotics with you.
- Drink a seal-packed water bottle.
- Avoid Stagnant water, and ice cubes, and brush your teeth with tap water or running water.
- Be careful with street vendors, and do not eat raw or uncooked meat, especially if you’re going to Africa or some Asian country.
If you have any doubt about food, then you will eat or drink them after cooking.
Bloody diarrhea is a serious issue in both adults and children, which needs immediate treatment and care.
There are several reasons for blood diarrhea include – infection, poor hygiene (are the main reasons for it) IBD, and cancer.