The questions below were raised by visitors to the STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print) website in the AskST section of the website. eMenders doctors provided the answers to the questions raised as a public health education project. The information provided below is of a general nature and should not be treated as a replacement for medical advice. You should seek consultation from a medical or healthcare professional about your specific medical condition.


The usual reason for blood in stools is piles (haemorrhoids), and this condition can be confirmed with your doctor. Piles are areas in the anal canal where vascular tissue has become swollen. They are usually pink in colour, sometimes blue, and can be internal or external in nature. Bowel movement can thus cause bleeding.

Less common causes include inflammation, fissure, polyps or even cancer.

Abnormal growths exert excess pressure in the lower rectum and anus and could cause piles.

If you are over 50 years of age or have a family history of cancer, a colonoscopy should be considered.

Contributed by Dr Cheng Jun, eMenders Gastroenterologist

Phytoestrogen may, in some cases, cause liver enzymes to rise. You may need a liver function test to check this after one month of treatment.

If you are still concerned about this, please visit a gastroenterologist for a consultation.

Contributed by Dr Cheng Jun, eMenders Gastroenterologist

Fruits and vegetables are fine but lemon juice may cause some gastric irritation.

Contributed by Dr Cheng Jun, eMenders Gastroenterologist

There are many types of causes for abdominal pain. It can be caused by viral infection, stress, dietary problems (like lactose intolerance, food allergy, etc.), urinary tract infection, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The pain described above is definitely not normal. Persistent right upper quadrant (RUQ) pain attack suggests that gallstones might have developed. It is advisable for one with this type of recurrent abdominal pain to do an ultrasound on the gallbladder to check for gallstones.

Contributed by Dr Cheng Jun, eMenders Gastroenterologist

Hepatitis B is a serious viral disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) that causes inflammation of the liver. Patients can suffer from either acute or chronic HBV infection. Patients infected with acute HBV are able to clear the virus within a short period of time, which ranges from a few weeks to a few months. However, when the infection is not cleared during this period, patients will become chronic carriers of the virus and have higher chances in developing severe liver disease.

Hepatitis B is often transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person or through an exchange of body fluids such as blood, mucus, or breast milk. Thus, French kissing or exchanging of saliva could possibly spread Hepatitis B from a HBV positive person.

To reduce Hepatitis B transmission, one should practice good hygiene and follow some measures eg. practice safe sex, avoid sharing personal hygiene items like toothbrush and razors, wash hands after contact with blood or body fluids.

Contributed by Dr Cheng Jun, eMenders Gastroenterologist