What Is Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding (known medically as hematochezia) can refer to any blood that passes from your anus. However, rectal or anal bleeding is usually assumed to refer to bleeding from the rectum or your colon. It may show up as blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. Blood caused by rectal bleeding from the anus can range from bright red blood in the stool to dark maroon to a dark tarry color.
There are many possible causes of anal bleeding, and your gastroenterologist’s complete evaluation and early diagnosis are critical. Hematochezia should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a specialist for an accurate diagnosis and blood in the stool treatment plan. 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. In addition to a complete physical exam and medical history, colonoscopy is the gold standard for visual evaluation of your colon for an accurate diagnosis. It can detect polyps, mass lesions, abnormalities of the intestine lining, and many other causes for your symptoms.
This condition can also be caused by bleeding hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colitis, or other causes amenable to diagnosis and treatment. Disorder higher up in the digestive tract can also lead to bleeding from the anus.
For these reasons, an examination with an experienced gastroenterologist is the first step to identifying the underlying rectal bleeding causes and determining the best hematochezia treatment options. The cause needs to be properly diagnosed to have the correct treatment. Common causes of rectal bleeding include internal hemorrhoids bleeding and anal fissures. Along with a thorough physical exam, colonoscopy is the gold standard for visual evaluation of the colon for diagnosis. These conditions can be better treated if diagnosed and treated early.
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What Are the Symptoms of Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding symptoms include:
- Straining and constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling around the anus
- Skin problems
- Bloody diarrhea
What Causes Rectal Bleeding?
Reasons for rectal bleeding can range from harmless gastrointestinal tract conditions such as bleeding hemorrhoids and anal fissures to more serious conditions such as cancer.
Rectal bleeding causes include:
- Anal Fissures
- Anal Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease
- Solitary Rectal Ulcer (ulcer in the rectum)
- Diverticulosis (a bulging pouch)
- Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum)
- Ischemic colitis (a colon inflammation)
- Infectious Colitis (inflammation of the colon)
More serious causes of rectal bleeding include colorectal and anal cancer. 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 anal canal (internal hemorrhoids). Already sensitive, they can easily cause bleeding from the rectum 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
The condition usually is signaled by itching, discomfort, and bleeding from the rectum. If blood pools in an external hemorrhoid, it may form a clot called a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
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 and bleeding from the anus. You may also experience spasms in the ring of muscle at the end of your anus.
Proctitis is a medical condition that occurs when the lining of your rectum and the rectal lining becomes inflamed. This can be a painful condition. The symptom of proctitis can include anus bleeding.
Causes of proctitis include:
- An infection
- Certain medications
- Prior radiation therapy for cancer treatment
- Some forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Diagnosing Anal Bleeding
Pooping blood or finding bright red blood in the stool is never normal. During your examination, our doctors have several options to find the source of the problem. They may:
- Feel for abnormalities within your rectum with a gloved, lubricated finger
- Examine your anus visually and using an anoscope during the physical exam
- Perform a colonoscopy for direct visualization of your colon, which is the gold standard for evaluation
Blood in Stool Treatment
Anal bleeding treatment depends first on finding its cause. It is crucial that bleeding from the rectal area should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by an experienced gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis and anus bleeding treatment plan. It may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition.
The bleeding rectum can be a symptom of colorectal or anal cancer, which can be cured if detected early. The first step is to identifying the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding and determining the best treatment options. You may need a colonoscopy for further evaluation. If the condition’s cause is ultimately found to be bleeding hemorrhoids, our doctors may recommend infrared coagulation (IRC) as the definitive response to stubborn hemorrhoids or hemorrhoid banding or other state-of-the-art treatments. If the blood in stool causes 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 are critical.
When Should You Worry About Rectal Bleeding?
Bleeding from the rectal area should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis and blood in the stool treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition.
When should you see a doctor for rectal bleeding? You should seek immediate emergency help if you have significant bleeding from the rectum and any of the following symptoms:
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness after standing up
- Cold and pale skin
- Low urine output
- Heavy rectal bleeding
- Accompanied by severe abdominal cramping or pain
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Medications Cause Bleeding From Anus?
GI bleeding might be linked to the use of oral anticoagulants. Hemorrhoidal bleeding can also be associated with medications that lead to constipation. Other triggers and drugs that cause rectal bleeding could be advancing age, the use of multiple medications, drug-drug interactions, and health-related disorders.
Are There Any Home Remedies for Rectal Bleeding?
Bleeding rectum treatment depends on the root cause of the problem. Several natural ways can help you address bleeding from the anus.
These natural remedies are:
- Relieve constipation
- Calm bleeding hemorrhoids
- Improve ulcerative colitis
- Soften stools
- Reduce your stress level
Even though the aforementioned recommendations are considered helpful, you should talk to your healthcare provider before starting treatment.
Can Stress Cause Bleeding Out of Rectum?
Stress does not typically lead to ulcerative colitis. However, chronic stress can have a negative impact on your immune system and trigger chronic inflammation. It will increase ulceration and cause bleeding. Undoubtedly, it is not possible to eliminate all stress, but you can learn ways to handle your emotions and stress. Try to avoid the consumption of caffeine and alcohol, which can stimulate intestinal contractions and worsen diarrhea. Caffeine and alcohol might also worsen stress and anxiety.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only trained, experienced physicians like our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper rectal bleeding treatment.
Our best-in-class gastroenterologists provide highly personalized and comprehensive care. They have earned some of the most respected reputations in NYC. For more information about the options of rectal bleeding treatment in Upper East Side or Midtown NYC or to schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, please contact our offices.