My mom is amazing. She taught me so much from a young age, including about my bodily functions. One of the many lessons she taught me as a child was to speak up if my poop was bloody or black because something could be wrong.
So naturally the day my toilet bowl lit up with bright red blood I was terrified. Fear ran through my veins as I remembered what my mother told me as a kid. The blood scared me and told me that something was really wrong. Mind you this wasn’t a tiny little bit of blood, it was a noticeable amount, enough to cause alarm. I was seeing blood in my bowel movements, on the toilet paper an in the toilet bowl water. Talk about scary.
I found the courage to tell my provider because I knew I couldn’t get help without disclosing all of the gross details about what I was experiencing. I am thankful I was brave enough to speak to my doctor and that I didn’t wait.
A few months later I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
When living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) bloody stool can come and go. No matter how many times you have seen your own bloody bowel movements it is always alarming and emotional. My heart sinks every time blood reappears no matter the level of severity. I always feel like my health is sliding backwards when I notice blood. It takes mental and emotional strength not to let my worries take over.
My last UC flare was a bloody one. I had never passed so much blood, I had convinced myself that my intestines were coming out of my bum. While that luckily didn’t occur it was still scary. I felt so darn terrible that I couldn’t put much energy toward worrying about the bleeding at the time but that didn’t make it any easier.
I wish I had a cure or a secret to how to handle bloody stools but I don’t. I only know this: you are not alone. You are stronger than you feel or ever thought you could be. Find someone you can talk to about your symptoms and your journey, yes even if that includes talking about bloody poop. Advocate for yourself and your symptoms and if you or a loved one is seeing blood for the first time ever...don’t wait. Put your pride aside and get to a physician who will listen to your story. The first doctor didn’t listen? Go to another one. You are in the driver’s seat so you are the one who gets to drive. Best of luck.