Bloody Diarrhea

What is Bloody Diarrhea

Bloody diarrhea is frequent loose and watery bowel movements that contain blood. The blood can be hard to see (occult) or notice. Bloody diarrhea may be caused by medical conditions such as:

  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Crohn disease.
  • Intestinal infection.
  • Viral gastroenteritis or bacterial gastroenteritis.

Finding out why there is blood is in your diarrhea is necessary so your health care provider can prescribe the right treatment for you. Follow the instructions from your health care provider about treating the cause of your bloody diarrhea.

Any type of diarrhea can make you feel weak and dehydrated. Dehydration can make you tired and thirsty, cause you to have a dry mouth, and decrease how often you urinate.

Follow these instructions at home:

Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to care for yourself at home.

Eating and drinking

Follow these recommendations as told by your health care provider:

  • Take an oral rehydration solution (ORS). This is a drink that is sold at pharmacies and retail stores.
  • Drink clear fluids such as water, ice chips, diluted fruit juice, and low-calorie sports drinks.
  • Eat bland, easy-to-digest foods in small amounts as you are able. These foods include bananas, applesauce, rice, lean meats, toast, and crackers.
  • Avoid drinking fluids that contain a lot of sugar or caffeine, such as energy drinks, sports drinks, and soda.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid spicy or fatty foods.

General instructions

  • Drink enough fluid to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.
  • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Make sure that all people in your household wash their hands well and often.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Rest at home while you recover.
  • Take a warm bath to relieve any burning or pain from frequent diarrhea episodes.
  • Watch your condition for any changes.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new symptoms.
  • Your diarrhea gets worse.
  • You cannot keep fluids down.
  • You have a headache.
  • You feel light-headed or dizzy.
  • You have muscle cramps.

Get help right away if:

  • You have chest pain.
  • You feel extremely weak or you faint.
  • The blood in your diarrhea increases or turns a different color.
  • You vomit and the vomit is bloody or looks black.
  • You have persistent diarrhea.
  • You have severe pain, cramping, or bloating in your abdomen.
  • You have trouble breathing or you are breathing very quickly.
  • Your heart is beating very quickly.
  • Your skin feels cold or clammy.
  • You feel confused.
  • You have signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Dark urine, very little urine, or no urine.
    • Cracked lips.
    • Dry mouth.
    • Sunken eyes.
    • Sleepiness.
    • Weakness.
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