You may observe apparent blood in your stool or darker colored bowel movements, indicating the intestinal or rectum is bleeding. Occasionally, bleeding may be present but undetectable. This is referred to as occult blood, and it may go undetected until a blood test reveals a low red blood cell count.
Rectal bleeding can be a sign of several different medical conditions. It can vary from mild to severe, such as colorectal cancer. In addition, it comes in a variety of colors, from bright red to dark maroon to black.
Bright blood in your stool indicates rectum or colon bleeding, a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Hemorrhoids can also cause rectal bleeding. But patients with hemorrhoids typically have intermittent symptoms associated with flare-ups. Whereas rectal bleeding caused by cancer frequently persists or worsens and is more likely to be accompanied by pain.
The color of the blood you see can indicate the origin of the bleeding.
- Bright red blood indicates bleeding in the colon or rectum.
- Dark red or maroon blood may indicate bleeding in the colon or small bowel.
- Melena (dark, tar-like stool) frequently shows stomach bleeding, such as bleeding from ulcers.
Occasionally, rectal bleeding is not visible to the naked eye and must be viewed under a microscope. For example, this type of bleeding is typically discovered during a laboratory examination of a stool sample.
Symptoms of rectal bleeding
- Rectal pain and pressure.
- Observation of bright red blood in or on one’s stool, underwear, toilet paper, or toilet bowl.
- Having a red, maroon, or black stool.
- Possessing tar-like stool.
- Mentally confused.
- Feeling faint or dizzy.
The causes of rectal bleeding
The following are the possible causes or reasons for rectal bleeding.
- Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum)
- Rectal ulcers
- Colon or anal cancer
- Anal fissures
Excessive straining during a bowel movement can result in rectal bleeding. This is frequently associated with constipation. Straining can result in hemorrhoids or anal fissures. In addition, an extremely hard stool can tear the skin around your anus, resulting in the appearance of blood. Constipation treatment can help prevent this from occurring.
Tests to diagnose the causes of rectal bleeding.
- A sigmoidoscopy.
- A physical exam of the anus and rectum.
- A colonoscopy.
How to treat rectal bleeding?
Rectal bleeding is usually treatable by treating the underlying cause of the bleeding. Rectal bleeding is frequently a symptom of a more severe problem that must be addressed. Once the underlying condition is treated, the bleeding usually ceases. The treatment options depend on the condition’s severity. Anal fissures can resolve on their own or can be treated with ointments. Hemorrhoids are another common cause of rectal bleeding, and the treatment for hemorrhoids is by resolving constipation, altering your diet and water intake, or even by surgery.
Cancer is a more severe cause of rectal bleeding. If this is the case, your healthcare provider will provide a treatment plan for cancer, which will frequently include removing any tumors.
When do I need to see a doctor?
When you have rectal bleeding, it’s usually a good idea to contact your healthcare practitioner. It could be a symptom of another health problem that requires care. It’s important to consult your doctor if you have a lot of bleeding or see blood in your bowel movements. Rectal bleeding can be caused by a variety of dangerous conditions that must be addressed.
What can I do to prevent rectal bleeding?
This is dependent on what caused the rectal bleeding in the first place. It would be best if you discussed particular management options with your doctor.