Rectal bleeding: Introduction
Rectal bleeding is an abnormal condition in which there is bleeding from the rectum or blood that accompanies or is mixed in with feces. Rectal bleeding can be the result of a wide variety of conditions, such as hemorrhoids, diverticula, inflammatory bowel disease, rectal prolapse, colorectal cancer, rectal abscesses, intestinal infections, peptic ulcer, intestinal polyps, constipation, or anal fissures.
Rectal bleeding can indicate a mild condition, such as hemorrhoids, or it can accompany a serious, even life-threatening condition, such as esophageal varices.
Rectal bleeding can appear in a variety of forms. There may be small amounts of bright red blood that is mixed with stool or that shows up on toilet paper after wiping. Bright red blood can also be discharged from the rectum in small to massive amounts without an accompanying bowel movement. Blood clots can also be present with rectal bleeding.
Another type of rectal bleeding occurs when there is blacken blood mixed in with stool. Stools may appear black and tarry, or maroon in color. Blood in the stool may also be in such small quantities that it cannot be seen by the naked eye. This is called fecal occult blood, and may indicate a serious condition.
There are many symptoms that can accompany rectal bleeding, depending on the cause of the bleeding. Symptoms often involve the gastrointestinal system but can affect body systems as well. For more details about symptoms, see symptoms of rectal bleeding.
Diagnosing rectal bleeding and its cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A digital rectal examination and testing for fecal occult blood are generally performed at this time. A digital rectal examination involves inserting a finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities and obtain a sample of stool.
The stool sample is then tested for fecal occult blood, which can indicate invisible, hidden blood in the stool. Your health care provider may also examine the rectum using an anoscope, which is inserted a short way into the rectum to look for causes of rectal bleeding.
Making a diagnosis of rectal bleeding may also include performing special imaging tests to see a picture of the insides of the gastrointestinal tract. These may consist of some combination of tests, such as a barium X-ray, CT scan, MRI, and a variety of tests using video imaging technology. These include sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. These tests involve passing a small flexible tube fitted with a camera through the anus into the colon to look for abnormal areas and sites of bleeding. During this procedure, samples of tissue may be taken to be tested to confirm a diagnosis. The upper areas of the gastrointestinal tract can be examined in a similar way through the mouth and esophagus in an endoscopy procedure.
A diagnosis of rectal bleeding and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because tiny amounts of blood may not be noticeable. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of rectal bleeding.
Treatment of rectal bleeding varies greatly depending on the cause and a variety of other factors. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated, while other may require intensive treatment. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of rectal bleeding. ...more »
Bleeding from the rectum or anus is a serious symptom.
The first or most noticable symptom may be bloody stool
or bloody diarrhea.
The condition may be ... more about Rectal bleeding.
Rectal bleeding: A condition which is characterized by bleeding from the rectum.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Rectal bleeding is available below.
Rectal bleeding: Symptoms
The types of symptoms of rectal bleeding and its causes can vary widely. The severity of symptoms can run the gamut from mild to extreme. The presentation of symptoms depends on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors.
Rectal bleeding in itself may be bright red to dark red to black in color. Rectal bleeding is often mixed with ...more symptoms »
Rectal bleeding: Treatments
Treatment plans for rectal bleeding is individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors.
Many causes of rectal bleeding, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal abscesses or constipation can often be effectively treated with relatively simple measures. These may ...more treatments »
Rectal bleeding: Misdiagnosis
Rectal bleeding is a symptom of many different conditions, so a thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis of the disease or condition that is causing rectal bleeding. Even if rectal bleeding appears to be caused by obvious hemorrhoids, some patients may also need a colonoscopy to ensure that bleeding isn't also coming some a more serious condition farther up the ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Rectal bleeding
Read more about symptoms of Rectal bleeding
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Rectal bleeding:
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Wrongly Diagnosed with Rectal bleeding?
Rectal bleeding: Related Patient Stories
Alternative Treatments for Rectal bleeding
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Rectal bleeding may include:
- Rinse anal area with water, not toilet paper
- Castor oil-topical
- more treatments »
Causes of Rectal bleeding
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More information about causes of Rectal bleeding:
Disease Topics Related To Rectal bleeding
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Rectal bleeding: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Rectal bleeding
Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder
called Von Willebrand's disease is quite...read more »
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, irritable bowel syndrome...read more »
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance.
The digestive system contains a variety of...read more »
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but...read more »
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In...read more »
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can,...read more »
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a...read more »
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the better known possibilities...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Rectal bleeding
Rectal bleeding: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Digestive Health Specialists (Gastroenterology):
- Rectal/Anal Health Specialists (Proctology):
- Blood Health Specialists (Hematology):
- more specialists...»
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Hospitals & Clinics: Rectal bleeding
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on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Rectal bleeding: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Rectal bleeding
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Rectal bleeding: Animations
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Research about Rectal bleeding
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Rectal bleeding: Broader Related Topics
Types of Rectal bleeding
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