Expert care in digestive health

Rectal bleeding

What are the causes of rectal bleeding?

The 2 most common reasons for the rectal bleeding are-

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissure

 

There are several other causes-

 

  • Colon polyps
  • Colon or rectal cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Diverticulosis
  • Angiodysplasia or arteriovenous malformation (abnormalities in the blood vessels near the intestine lining)
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Ischemic colitis (inflammation of the colon due to poor blood flow)
  • Diverticulosis (a bulging pouch or pocket that forms on the wall of the intestine)

What other symptoms should I watch out when I have rectal bleeding?

These are the symptoms you should watch out and let your doctor know when you see them-

 

  • Diarrhea
  • Change in bowel your habits (sudden onset of constipation)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching or pain in the anus
  • Black stool
  • Feeling like you need to have bowel movement often but nothing comes out
  • Bleeding that goes on for a long time or that comes back again and again

When should I see a doctor if I have rectal bleeding?

Sometimes, rectal bleeding can be serious. They can be a sign of cancer or other problems in the digestive system.

See your health care provider right away if you notice any blood in stools. Most cases are not serious. But anyone with bloody stools should be seen.

What tests do I need?

Your health care provider will decide which tests you should have based on your age, other symptoms, and individual situation.

Here are the most common tests doctors use to find the cause of bloody stools:

 

  • Rectal exam – Your doctor will look at the outside of your anus. He or she will also insert a finger to feel inside the opening.
  • Anoscopy – Your doctor will put a small tube into your anus. The tube goes a few inches into the rectum (the lower part of the large intestine). It has a light on it so the doctor can see inside.
  • Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy – For these tests, the doctor puts a thin tube through your anus and advanced into your large intestine (colon). The tube has a camera with a light attached to it, so the doctor can look inside your intestines. During these tests, the doctor can also take samples of tissue to look at under a microscope.
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