STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood in stools. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a red blood cell (large orange cell) and fecal bacteria and matter. Blood in the stool can come from many sources. The causes range from not harmful to very serious conditions. The GI tract can be divided into upper and lower, with some causes of bleeding affecting the entire tract (upper and lower). Blood in the stool often appears different depending on its source. These difference can help when diagnosing these conditions. Rectal bleeding is often noticed as small amounts of bright-red blood on the toilet paper or a few droplets that turn the water in the toilet pink. In general, bright-red blood means the bleeding has come from somewhere near your anus and is a typical sign of piles (haemorrhoids) or a small tear (anal fissure) in the skin of your anus. Magnification: x6000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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