Understanding Rectal Bleeding
Rectal bleeding can refer to any blood that passes from your anus, although rectal bleeding is usually assumed to refer to bleeding from your colon or your rectum. Rectal bleeding may show up as blood in your stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. Blood that results from rectal bleeding can range in color from bright red to dark maroon to a dark, tarry color. There are many possible causes for rectal bleeding and a complete evaluation and early diagnosis by your doctor is very important. Rectal bleeding should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition. Rectal bleeding can be a symptom of colorectal or anal cancer, a type of cancer that can be cured if detected early. Rectal bleeding can also be caused by hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colitis or many other causes. Disorder higher up in the digestive tract including can also lead to rectal bleeding. For these reasons, an examination with an experienced NYC gastroenterologist like Dr.Khodadadian is the first step to identifiying the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding and determining the best treatment options. The cause needs to be properly diagnosed in order to have the correct treatment. Common causes of rectal bleeding include hemorrhoids, anal fissures. These conditions can be better treated if diagnosed and treated properly .
Symptoms associated with rectal bleeding
- straining and constipation
- abdominal pain
- swelling around the anus
- skin problems
Causes of Rectal Bleeding
Causes of of rectal bleeding include:
- Anal Fissures
- Anal Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Colon Polyps
- Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease
- Solitary Rectal Ulcer (ulcer in the rectum)
- Diverticulosis (bulging pouch that forms on wall of large intestine)
- Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum)
- Ischemic colitis (colon inflammation caused by reduced blood flow)
- Infectious Colitis (inflammation of the colon caused by infection)
The second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, colon cancer begins in your large intestine. Since it is a slow-growing disease, it can be effectively treated with early detection. Most cases of colon cancer come from polyps in your colon. Finding polyps through a colonoscopy and removing them reduces your cancer risk. Anal cancer is less common but also curable when diagnosed early.
Hemorrhoids are veins just below the surface of the skin that have become inflamed or swollen. They can occur on the skin around your anus (external hemorrhoids) or inside your rectum (internal hemorrhoids). Already sensitive, they can bleed easily if irritated. Common causes of hemorrhoids are:
- Sitting on the toilet too long
- Straining during bowel movements
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- A low-fiber diet
Tears in the lining of your anus are called anal fissures. Most often, they appear after bouts of constipation, passing hard stools, diarrhea or inflammation. Anal fissures can cause pain during and immediately after a bowel movement.
Colon or rectal polyps are benign growths within the lining of your colon or rectum. Some can cause minor bleeding. Polyps usually are the result of abnormal cell growth. Although a vast majority of polyps do not lead to cancer, some do if left untreated, so it’s important to remove them. That’s why most doctors recommend a regular colonoscopy for people over 50.
Proctitis is a medical condition that occurs when the lining of your rectum becomes inflamed. This can be a painful condition. Causes include:
- An infection
- Certain medications
- Prior radiation therapy for cancer treatment
- Some forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Diagnosing Rectal Bleeding
During your examination, Dr. Khodadadian has several options to find the source of your rectal bleeding. He may:
- Examine your anus visually
- Feel for abnormalities within your rectum with a gloved, lubricated finger
- Perform a colonoscopy
- Recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Use an anoscope, a short tube with a camera on its tip
Treating Rectal Bleeding
Treating rectal bleeding depends on first findings its cause. It is crucial that rectal bleeding should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by an experienced gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition. Rectal bleeding can be a symptom of colorectal or anal cancer, a type of cancer that can be cured if detected early. The first step to identifiying the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding and determining the best treatment options. You may need a colonoscopy for further evaluation. If the cause is ultimately found to be hemorrhoids, Dr. Khodadadian may recommend infrared coagulation (IRC) as the definitive response to stubborn hemorrhoids or hemorrhoid banding or other state of the art treatments. If the cause is found to be anal fissures, this can be diagnosed and easily treated in most cases. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your needs but accurate examination, diagnosis and treatment is very important.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLYThe information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class gastroenterologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.