Hmm blood – that’s not normal….

There have been a lot of comments lately about seeing blood when having a bowel movement.  Not a normal occurrence and something that quite frankly can be a bit unnerving.

If you see blood in your stool or when you wipe – ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1.  Have you eaten anything red in the last couple of days? Beets, watermelon, red velvet cake – things along those lines that are really red in color.  Foods you eat can affect the color of your output.  If that’s the case, lay off the red foods and give it a day or two for everything to work through your system.   If you’re still seeing red – schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  2. Have you been constipated, having to work a little harder than normal to make things flow? Is the blood bright red?  If this sounds familiar, then most likely you are experiencing problems with hemorrhoids.  Start drinking more water and add fiber into your diet to get things moving more smoothly.  If the constipation is a thing of the past, and you’re still seeing  blood – schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  3. Is the blood more of a deep color, perhaps even brownish? This would indicate that the blood is coming from higher up in the intestinal track, perhaps even from the stomach area.  Don’t mess around with this one, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

In any of the above cases, if the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, even if there isn’t any pain or discomfort, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, M.D.

It’s OK to use your sleeve

Growing up sleeves were a big no-no.  We weren’t supposed to use our sleeves to wipe our noses or our mouths.  We weren’t supposed to stretch out our sleeves. And we weren’t to use our sleeves as rags to wipe things down.  Sleeves were to be – well – sleeves.

The wiping of the nose thing – that’s still good advice, but our sleeves can serve a purpose other than being sleeves.  Sleeves are great for coughing and sneezing.  If you’re coughing/sneezing into your sleeve, you’re limiting the spread of germs into the air, protecting those around you.