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Certain physical symptoms may indicate a deeper, more serious problem going on in the body. Paying close attention to these physical signs may help you save your life or the life of a loved one.

These physical indicators can help you determine if the signs on your body are symptoms of a bigger health issue.

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1. Bloody stool

Seeing blood in your stool may just be the outcome of a hemorrhoid or anal fissure. But sometimes, it can be an indicator of a more serious problem. Bloody stool is the result of bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract. Dark, tarry blood in stool is usually a result of bleeding higher up in the digestive tract. Bright red blood usually indicates bleeding lower down in the digestive tract, or in the anus. Bleeding in the digestive tract could be a result of colitis, ulcers, polyps, or even cancer somewhere along the intestines.

If you think you see blood in your stool, or if blood is detected in a stool test, the doctor may order more tests to determine the cause. Or the doctor suspects that the bleeding is higher up in the digestive tract, he may order an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). If the bleeding is suspected to come from the colon, the doctor may order a colonoscopy. Other tests that may be ordered include an enteroscopy, a barium X-ray, radionuclide scanning, an angiography, or a laparotomy.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.