Rectal bleeding means observing blood from the anus - the lower most portion of the rectum.
It is definitely a sign of something wrong inside your body. So what causes rectal bleeding and how should it be diagnosed? We answer everything over here...
Symptoms associated with rectal bleeding
- Blood dripping from anus while passing bowel
- Blood in stool, toilet tissue, underwear
- Straining while passing bowel
- Pain, tingling, pressure, and soreness in rectum
- Change in colour of stool- dark red, black, tar like appearance
- Decreased output of urine
Apart from these primary symptoms, you might generally feel weak, dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous. Some people also experience blurred vision, confusion and difficulty in breathing.
When to see a doctor?
You must see a doctor on experiencing rectal bleeding; it’s not something that you should delay in getting a check up done.
What causes rectal bleeding?
There are several underlying health complications that can lead to passing blood from anus. The problem could be serious and might be present in the larger sphere, apart from an issue confined only to rectum.
The following are the causes of rectal bleeding...
- Severe or chronic constipation
- Anal fissure – tear in the lining of the stomach
- Fistula - infection in the anal glands
- Diverticulosis and diverticulitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcers in small intestine and rectum, Ulcerative colitis
- Hemorrhoids or piles, tumours, polyps
- Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease
Diagnosis of rectal bleeding
Just like any other diagnosis, your doctor will fist evaluate the symptoms, check your medical history and perform a physical examination, which is most obviously the digital rectal examination.
Let your doctor know if you are suspecting food poisoning or have constipation problem.
You will have to undergo stool test which could be a faecal occult blood test and faecal culture for detecting microbes.
Diagnostic tests for rectal bleeding are directed towards the rectum, different parts of the colon and the intestine. It includes anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.
Barium enema X ray could also be done for detecting tumours, colitis, diverticuli, etc.
You will also be screened for bowel, colon or rectal cancer if your doctor suspects it.
Treatment for rectal bleeding
As mentioned above, the reasons behind rectal bleeding are diverse and therefore, the treatment will be totally dependent on the underlying problem.
Generalizing the options, we can say pain killers, anti inflammatory drugs and steroids are used to manage pain, soreness and inflammation. Your doctor should give you antibiotics to cure stomach infections while vasoconstrictors might be prescribed to reduce bleeding.
Topical creams are often prescribed for healing anal fissures.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the treatment options for cancer.
Managing rectal bleeding
If your condition is not something very serious, your doctor would explain your several home care techniques that would gradually stop rectal bleeding.
- Re-plan your diet if you are having constipation. You need to eat foods high in fibres and avoid those foods that cause constipation. Psyllium husk and prunes are common cure for constipation. Get the diet chart from your doctor
- If a medical condition like ulcers or diverticulitis has been diagnosed, that too requires a special diet. It mostly involves eating soft and light food and drinks. Foods containing seeds and skin, overdose of spices, etc. should be avoided.
- If your rectum has been strained, then you can take lukewarm water compress in that area.
- Lastly, drink plenty of water to regularize your bowel movements.
Apart from all these, you will require follow up visits which again depends on the medical condition you are being treated for.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: December 29, 2014