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Question: I have had diarrhea for 3 weeks now. My bowels have blood in them (I do not have hemorrhoids), and normally come with moderate to severe pain in my abdomen. I went to the emergency room and they told me to drink more water and take extra fiber. The diarrhea is getting worse. I can no longer control my bowels. Is this normal, or could there be something more going on that the emergency room missed? Tamara

Answer: Dear Tamara,

When suffering from diarrhea it is important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. An increased intake of fiber will also increase bowel activity.

When there is blood present in the stool it is recomended to visit a doctor and have a colonoscopy performed. Blood in the stool can be caused by polyps in the colon which, if not treated, could become cancerous.

Other causes for bloody stools include:

- Anal fissures
- Intestinal infection
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colon cancer

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