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Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding usually describes any bleeding that passes from the anus. In most cases, it is assumed that rectal bleeding refers to blood from the lower colon or the rectum, which is the bottom part of the large intestine. 

Oftentimes, blood from rectal bleeding is a bright red color, but sometimes it is a darker maroon. It may appear as blood in the stool, or it may show up on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. 

Rectal Bleeding Diagram

Applicable Procedures

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

There are several potential causes of rectal bleeding. In some cases, the cause is as simple as constipation or passing a hard stool. Other common causes include an anal fissure, which is a small tear in the lining of the anus, or hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the anus or rectum. Another cause of rectal bleeding, which is less common, is diarrhea. 

If rectal bleeding is heavy or lasts for more than a day or two, it is important to see a doctor, especially if you have other worrisome symptoms, such as dizziness, blurry vision, nausea, cold, clammy skin, or confusion. If you have continuous heavy bleeding as well as severe abdominal pain with rectal bleeding, you should have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room. That being said, the course of treatment for rectal bleeding will depend upon its cause. For instance, if an anal fissure is causing rectal bleeding, a doctor may advise you to treat it with an ointment, but in some cases, anal fissures will heal on their own, and bleeding will stop. Hemorrhoids that lead to rectal bleeding can be treated through dietary changes that improve constipation, but in rare cases, they may require surgical removal. If you have rectal bleeding due to cancer or a condition like ulcerative colitis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Mild rectal bleeding may resolve on its own. 

Common Symptoms

Sources:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/rectal-bleeding/basics/definition/sym-20050740
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/14612-rectal-bleeding/care-and-treatment
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353326

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