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When to Talk to Your Doctor About Your Stool

As part of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, it is time to have the talk with your doctor. You may feel awkward talking with someone about your bowel movements, but in some cases this conversation could save your life.

You need to talk to your doctor about your stool if:

1) Your stool is black or bloody. Black stool may indicate blood in your intestines. If your stool is very dark or appears to have blood in it, you need to make an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later. Blood may be an indication of a serious condition such as colon cancer.

2) You can’t go or stop going. If you are constipated or have diarrhea, you should see your physician. These can lead to serious complications such as dehydration.

3) Your stool changes. For most people, all bowel movements will be similar looking. However, if your stool changes color, becomes softer or harder than normal, has a different odor or appears greasy, you may need to see your doctor. These changes could indicate an illness or condition affecting your digestive health. For instance, white or gray stools could indicate a problem with your liver while narrow, thin stools could indicate an obstruction in your bowel.

4) It hurts to go to the bathroom. If you experience pain when passing stool, this could indicate a wide range of conditions including hemorrhoids. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of this pain and help you find relief.

Did you know colon cancer is the second leading cause of overall cancer deaths in the United States? But it doesn’t have to stay this way. Early detection through screening can dramatically reduce your risk. This means having your colon checked regularly starting at age 50, or sooner if you are at higher risk. Don’t forget, screening saves lives!

Learn more about our screening services.

Source: Colon Cancer Alliance

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