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Currant Jelly Stool

About Currant Jelly Stool:

Currant jelly is blood and mucus mixed in the stool and is a sign of a bowel disorder known as intussusception.

Intussusception is a condition in which the bowel is pulled back into itself or other parts of the bowel. This leads to blood in the stool giving it an appearance of currant jelly.

Currant Jelly Stool

Blood in the stool can also be due to the following conditions:(1)

Appearance and Additional Symptoms of Currant Jelly Stool

Bleeding inside the gastrointestinal tract can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting feeling
  • Tiredness
  • Blood in vomit
  • Vomiting of a substance similar to coffee grounds

Anyone with blood in stool with the above symptoms should consult a doctor as it is important to find the cause and provide the treatment.

There are a range of conditions associated with currant jelly stool. A doctor can assess it by taking the person’s medical history.

Conditions Leading to Currant Jelly Stool

The conditions associated with currant jelly stool include the following:

  1. Intussusception

    Currant jelly stool is a mix of blood and mucus in the stool. In children, it is a sign of intussusception. It occurs when a piece of the intestine folds into another section. This condition can block the digestion of liquid and solid foods.

    Along with currant jelly stool, a child with intussusception may experience vomiting. In some as the condition advances, the child may also have a fever. 90% of children with intussusception are under 2 years of age.(2)

    The cause of intussusception in children is not known. In adults, its presence may indicate cancer.

    The symptoms of intussusception may include:

    Intussusception can be diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound. After the diagnosis, an enema is given for the treatment. Surgery is recommended for those who do not respond to enemas.

  2. Juvenile Retention Polyp

    This is another reason for bleeding in the lower intestine and is known to occur in 1% of children.(3)

    Polyps are known to develop in individuals by the age of 20 years. To come to the diagnosis one of the following criteria should be met:

    • Presence of juvenile polyps elsewhere in the intestine
    • Family of juvenile polyps
    • Having more than 5 colorectal polyps

    If a child has polyp there may be the following symptoms:

    The treatment involves the removal of polyps and in case of severity of the disease, removal of a part of the stomach or colon is needed.

  3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    People with the chronic inflammatory disease have chronic inflammation through the bowel. It can occur at the age of 40 years and can also occur later in older individuals.(4)

    People with inflammatory bowel disease may have the following symptoms:(5)

    The condition can be diagnosed with a stool test, blood test, and imaging test. The treatment includes corticosteroids, biologics, anti-inflammatory, and biomodulators.

    Eating a plant-based diet can be helpful in overcoming the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease causing currant jelly stool.(6)

  4. Peptic Ulcers

    Peptic ulcers can also cause currant jelly stool. Peptic ulcers involve the development of sores around the intestine. It occurs due to damage to the lining of the stomach or small intestine due to the acid developed in the stomach.

    H. Pylori or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory are the most common cause of inflammatory bowel disease.

    Along with blood in stool, other symptoms of peptic ulcers include:

    Peptic ulcers can be diagnosed with the help of endoscopy, stool samples, urea breath test, and blood test.

    Proton pump inhibitors are mostly used for the treatment of peptic ulcers. However, avoiding the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory is suggested if it is a suspected cause.

  5. Diverticulosis

    In diverticulosis, small diverticula grow or there are small pouches that grow outward into the intestine. This condition is common in adults. A low-fiber diet is known to be a cause of diverticulosis.(7)

    People with diverticula may experience cramping, constipation, and bloating. If the diverticula get infected there may be:

    • Tear and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Cramping
    • Chills and fever
    • Pain in the abdomen

    Diverticulosis is diagnosed with physical examination, x-ray, and colonoscopy. Its treatment is usually done with the help of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.

  6. Anal Fissures

    Anal fissures are small tears in the intestine that may occur due to dry bowel movements and frequent diarrhea.

    The people experiencing anal fissures may suffer from:

    • Pain during bowel movements
    • Bleeding during or after bowel movements
    • Traces of blood in stool

    Anal fissures are diagnosed with an anal examination that involves inserting finger into the rectum to detect the abnormalities. The anal fissures respond well to home-based treatments. Warm baths can also be helpful in promoting healing. Anal sphincter pressure is measured in case the simple treatment fails.

  7. Hemorrhoids

    Swollen veins in the lower part of the anus are known as hemorrhoids. They tend to get irritated when the vessel wall stretches. Bleeding and mucus in the stool can be the symptoms of hemorrhoids. The other symptoms include:

    • Pain around the anus
    • Itchy anus
    • Bright red blood in the stool
    • Mucus after wiping
    • Lump around the anus
    • Stinging sensation in the anus after stool

    A physical examination can be helpful in diagnosing hemorrhoids. Anoscopy is also performed to examine the anal canal and rectum.

    To treat hemorrhoids, conservative treatments adopted are:

    • Increase in dietary intake
    • Increased water intake
    • Stool softener and laxative
    • Increase in physical activity
    • Good anal hygiene

    There’re a few minimally invasive techniques that are adopted for those who do not respond to the conservation treatments, which include:

    • Rubber band ligation
    • Sclerotherapy
    • Infrared coagulation
    • Hemorrhoidectomy is recommended in case of severe hemorrhoids.

    Currant jelly stool is a stool that has mucus and blood in it. Mostly, it is a sign of intussusception. The cause of the condition can be determined by seeing a healthcare professional and getting a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

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