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Help with Defining terms used for bowel disorders

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Old 02-03-2007, 12:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Chicago
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Question Help with Defining terms used for bowel disorders

I've been reading and reading over the last few weeks and see a number of terms that seem rather incomplete or confusing for me. Maybe I'm over thinking the terms but can someone help me out here?

Ribbon Type Stools:
If one considers the dimensions of a "normal" bowel and consider the Bristol Stool Scale ([url]http://en.********/Image:Bristol_Stool_Chart.png)[/url], a normal stool to me is round and similar to the type 4 on the scale. Does ribbon mean "flat and wide" as is a wide wrapping ribbon or a thin, string type ribbon? In general, does consistency seem to be correlated with specific problems?

"Blood in the stool"
Seems that blood can be "on the stool", that is, what is visibly on the surface. It could be “woven through”, almost as in strings or threads (especially if it is combined with mucus), either in a few or many threads/strands, or it could be similar to an emulsion, that is evenly missed throughout to the point it is not seeing it as blood, but maybe as a reddish-brown stool if the blood is fresh or blackened is the blood originates from higher up in the colon. The latter usually requiring a fecal occult blood test (FOB) to identify. Obviously how it appears determines where the bleeding may originate, but does the appearance give any indication (directly or in sense of percentages) as to the cause(s)?

Mucus seems as though it would appear more on the stool if being “shed” by the large intestines. If being shed by the small intestines, it too, would be more embedded in the stool than as visual strings on it. Am I correct in this assessment as well?

Additionally, does the consistency of the mucus usually show indications of what the problem may be? In other words, if it is "slimy" as in thick nasal discharge, is this any indications of the problem as opposed to "globs" or "flakes"?

"Tarry stools"
Based on the term, can I safely presume this mean BMs that are very dark, and actually sticky, such as putty/modelers clay, or well... such as warm (not hot liquidy) road tar?

Any help here would be greatly appreciated

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