Rectal bleeding is defined as the passage of blood from either the anus or the rectum.
When to be Concerned?
You should always take any bleeding seriously. Please call our office should you experience rectal bleeding.
What Causes Rectal Bleeding?
- Hemorrhoids: Dilated blood vessels or veins in the anal or rectal area. They can occur on the outside of the body where they are felt as small bumps when wiping or they may be on the inside where they are usually painless. Most often they are associated with chronic constipation or pregnancy.
- Fistulas: An abnormal channel that runs from the rectum to the skin around the anus. It will often drain a white-colored discharge but can also bleed.
- Fissures: Tiny tears in the tissue lining the anus and occur from the passage of a hard stool or severe diarrhea. These can often be painful and cause bleeding during bowel movements.
- Diverticulosis: Pockets or sacs that balloon from the bowel wall. They can balloon out over the years due to recurrent, high-pressure spasms in the colon. If they bleed, they can produce a large amount of blood.
- Proctitis and Colitis: The rectum, colon or both can become inflamed and ulcerated. This can be accompanied by rectal urgency, cramps or diarrhea associated with bleeding. Proctitis occurs when inflammation is restricted to the rectum. Colitis occurs when inflammation is in the colon.
- Polyps and Cancer: Benign growths in the colon. When polyps, which can be associated with colon cancer, reach a large size, they can bleed.
- Protrusion of the Rectum: Occurs when an individual has weakened rectal support tissues. Part of the rectum can project from the anus and bleed.
Treatments for Rectal Bleeding:
Treatments are based on the specific cause of bleeding and range from simple over the counter medicine to prescription medicines and surgery.