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Blood in stool for a month

I am a 19 year old female, soon to be 20, and I have been having blood in my stool on and off for about a month. I have a history of digestive problems. I had my gallbladder out when I was 14 and I am lactose intolerant. Also I have GERD, and i have trouble digesting fatty foods. I am pretty good about sicking to the diet that those things keep me on. The blood in the stool is a more brighter red rather than a maroon. The amount of blood is not great but it seems to be increasing in my stool. It doesn't hurt to pass stools and I am not ever constipated.The stool is usually half firm and half soft. I have been having a bit of pain in my lower abdomen on and off but no pain when using the bathroom. As far as family history is concerned, both my parents have digestive issues and my grandfather had colon cancer. I just wondered if there was need for concern. Since I am to embarrassed to talk to anyone I know about this,  your help would be much appreciated!
Thank you very much
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Avatar universal

I want you understand, that bleeding source has to be found and bleading stopped. If you don't do that, bad anemia may develop, and if this happens, they will have to investigate or operate you anyway.

It's a question of life, not luxury. If you can't afford the cost, you'll surely find someone to donate some money. There are organisations and churches elsewhere; in my country they pay all household bills to few thousand famillies, and there is always money found for expensive operations for someone who can't afford to pay.

Inflammation - at your age, there are two common types of colonic inflammation: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The cause is not known, it tends to run in families, and often affects young people like you. Main symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pains and bleeding from the gut. Ulcers develop elsewhere in the large or small intestine, and cause bleeding. Diagnosis is with colonoscopy, there is no other simpler way (other more expensive investigations exist though). Anti-inflammatory drugs exist which reduce inflammation. But before treatment starts, doctor has to know exactly which disease it is. Disease has very different course at different persons; it is prolonged one, but it improves with time. The danger of untreated inflammation is decreased absorption of vitamins, anemia, damaged intestine (parts of it then have to be surgicaly removed), and complications, like a cancer. Colonic cancer very rarely appears under 40 years of age, so it's not likely that you have it.

Hemmorrhoids are the most often cause of gut bleeding though. Other causes are celiac disease, diverticulitis, vessel abnormalities...and so on - all this can be confirmed only by colonoscopy.

What you should do:

1. Go to your college (?) doctor or to your personal doctor. He will examine you and order stool test for blood and microbes, and blood test. He will propose you investigations like x-ray with a contrast substance (barium), where the gross abnormalities of intestine can be seen; colonoscopy usually follows. Ask for the cost of each investigation.

2. Money. It's your family who will probably help you first. Search for local organisations, churches, to donate you money. This is not something exceptional, churches help this way every day on organised way, they mostly have public caritative services.

It's not necessary that all people know about your problems, but your parents will understand it, right? There are thousands of people having gut examination, this is nothing new for doctors.    
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Avatar universal
Honestly, I am a college student, I can't afford a colonoscopy... I am a bit worried but at the same time I am clueless to what it could be. Do you have any ideas? What would inflammation mean?
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Avatar universal
It can't be said from here, where the blood is originating from, but regarding to lower abdominal pain (left or right maybe?), it's probably that it is from the colon.

You need a COLONOSCOPY, this is the first investigation to find the source of bleeding. Your situation is urgent, do not in any case try to postpone appointment with a doctor. No need to panic though, it's very unlikely to have a bowel cancer at your age, but it can be inflammation, which is serious enough. With continuous bleeding you may develop anemia, which additionally complicates treatment.
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