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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
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My Mother is 76 years old. Last night she had frequent bowel

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My Mother is 76 years old. Last night she had frequent bowel movements, one about every half to three quater hours. The excrament is entirely blood. It is dark red and somewhat coagulated. I have taken her to the hospital and the bowel movements have distanced, one every 2 - 3 hours and is slightly lighter in color. What could be wrong, very concerned.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.


Thank you for writing in today.

There are many different things that can cause bloody diarrhea. For example, colitis, parasites, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, gastritis, liver disorders, pancreatitis, and malignancy are some common causes. However, since her bloody stools were of an acute onset and are quickly diminishing, one of the more likely causes would be a bacterial infection, such as bacterial gastritis or food poisoning. I assume that they have done some stool cultures and blood work. The blood work may show an elevation in her white count, if there is a bacterial infection. Also, stool cultures may be helpful in identifying the causative organism. When patients have bacterial infections along the gastrointestinal tract, the body actually uses the diarrhea to rid itself of the offending bacteria. For now, maintaining hydration is very important for your mother. In addition, after this passes, if she is not up to date on her colonoscopy screening, this should be considered and addressed. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions, concerns, or need clarification, please let me know. Lisa

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

They have taken several blood samples and are checking her hemoglobin every 8 hours. She has the iv and is being kept hydrated. The colonoscopy has been ordered and they are going to perform a GI? It has been 2 years or so from her last colonoscopy.

Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.
That's good news. The scope will be particularly helpful in identifying an underlying issue and may be able to isolate the bleeding. Again, this may be a bacterial infection, such as food poisoning or gastritis; however, other possible causes, as mentioned previously, should be considered, and the scope is really helpful in evaluating and ruling out some of the different diagnosis that may be causing this problem. Lisa