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Home > Symptom > Rectal Bleeding

Rectal Bleeding

Rectal Bleeding

Overview of Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is often a symptom of conditions like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers and colorectal cancer. You may notice rectal bleeding on toilet paper, in the water or stool. You should always talk with your healthcare provider if you experience rectal bleeding, because it could be a sign of a serious medical condition. The final portion of the digestive tract is located at the end of the rectum.

What is Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding usually refers to any bleeding that occurs in that area. It's normal to have a few drops of blood on the toilet paper when wiping, or in the stool. Blood-colored stool is often a sign of food dyes like blackberries, tomatoes or other foods, not an indication that there is something wrong with your body. If it persists for more than 1–2 days and you’re worried, talk to your doctor.

However, when you notice bright red blood in your stool, it may indicate bleeding in the lower colon or rectum. Darker red blood is a sign of bleeding in the small bowel or upper colon. Very dark or black-red blood often means there's bleeding in the stomach or other organs of the digestive system.

Causes of Rectal Bleeding

There are many possible causes of rectal bleeding. Some causes are more serious than others, and some require immediate medical attention.

Common causes of rectal bleeding include:

  • Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the anal or rectal area. They can be internal, meaning they are inside the rectum, or external, meaning they are outside the anus. Hemorrhoids can bleed when they become irritated or damaged.
  • Anal fissures: Anal fissures are small tears in the skin of the anal canal. They can be caused by constipation, diarrhea, or trauma to the area. Anal fissures can also bleed.
  • Colon polyps: Growths on the colon's lining are referred to as colon polyps. They are usually benign (not cancerous), but some types can become cancerous over time. Polyps can bleed if they become irritated or damaged.
  • Infections: Infections of the anus or rectum, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or bacterial infections, can cause rectal bleeding.
  • Cancer: Cancer of the anus, rectum, or colon can cause rectal bleeding.

Prevention of Rectal Bleeding

There are a few things you can do to help prevent rectal bleeding. First, avoid constipation by eating a high-fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluids. If you do experience constipation, try a stool softener or laxative. Second, don't strain during bowel movements. Go when you feel the urge, and don't hold it in. Third, don't smoke. Smoking can irritate your digestive system and contribute to rectal bleeding. Finally, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. If you have any concerns about preventing rectal bleeding, talk to your doctor.

Symptoms of Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is any bleeding that occurs from the rectum. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine, and it ends at the anus. Rectal bleeding can occur for many reasons, some of which are serious and require medical attention.

  • Bloody Stool: The most common symptom of rectal bleeding is bloody stool. This can range from a small amount of blood on the surface of the stool to bright red blood covering the entire stool. If there is a large amount of blood, it may cause the toilet bowl water to turn red after a bowel movement.
  • Pain during Bowel Movements: Pain during bowel movements may be a sign of rectal bleeding. If you experience this symptom, it is important to seek medical attention.
  • Rectal bleeding can have many causes, some of which are serious. While pain during bowel movements is not always a sign of rectal bleeding, it can be a symptom. If you experience this symptom, it is important to seek medical attention.
  • Cramping: One potential cause of rectal bleeding is anal fissures. Anal fissures frequently result in discomfort and bleeding during bowel movements. They are common, and usually result from passing large or hard stools. Anal fissures typically cause pain and bleeding with bowel movements.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea can be a symptom of rectal bleeding, although it is not always indicative of a serious problem. Diarrhea may be caused by a number of factors, including food intolerance, infection, or stress. If you experience diarrhea along with rectal bleeding, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out a more serious condition.

If you experience any of these symptoms along with rectal bleeding, it is important to see a doctor right away. They will be able to determine the cause and provide treatment if necessary.

How to Treat Rectal Bleeding

If you're experiencing rectal bleeding, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to treat the symptoms.

If the bleeding is constant, apply pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze. This will help stop the bleeding. If the bleeding is intermittent, avoid straining or bearing down when using the bathroom. This can make the bleeding worse.

If you're in pain, take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also use a sitz bath to relieve pain and itching. To do this, fill your tub with a few inches of warm water and add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Soak for 20 minutes, then dry off completely.

It's also important to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. Gently cleanse the area with mild soap and water after each bowel movement. Pat dry with a soft towel or air dry. Avoid using wipes or perfumed products on your anus or genitals as these can irritate the area further and make bleeding more likely.

Conclusion

Rectal bleeding can be a symptom of a number of different health conditions, some of which are more serious than others. If you experience rectal bleeding, it's important to see a doctor so that they can determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment. In most cases, rectal bleeding is not indicative of a life-threatening condition, but it's always best to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a professional.

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