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Rectal bleeding

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 »

Rectal bleeding: 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 caused by gastrointestinal bleeding. Any bleeding symptom needs...more »

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 ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Rectal bleeding:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Rectal bleeding. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Rectal bleeding: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Rectal bleeding

Home medical tests possibly related to Rectal bleeding:

Causes of Types of Rectal bleeding:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Rectal bleeding:

Review causes of types of Rectal bleeding in more specific categories:

Rectal bleeding: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Rectal bleeding, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

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 include changes in diet, drinking lots of water, ...Rectal bleeding Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Rectal bleeding may include:

Review further information on Rectal bleeding Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Rectal bleeding

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Rectal bleeding may include:

  • Rinse anal area with water, not toilet paper
  • Ghee-topical
  • Castor oil-topical
  • more treatments »

Stories from Users for Rectal bleeding

Real-life user stories relating to Rectal bleeding:

Message Boards for Rectal bleeding

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Rectal bleeding or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Rectal bleeding:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Rectal bleeding. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • Pulse rate and blood pressure lying and sitting to assess the amount of blood loss
    • Look for signs of shock due to massive blood loss - e.g. cold extremities, clammy skin, shortness of breath, anxiety, low blood pressure, elevated pulse rate.
    • Examine for signs of chronic liver disease and portal hypertension - e.g. bruising, jaundice, enlarged liver and spleen, abdominal distension due to ascetic fluid, ankle swelling.
    • Abdominal palpation for mass or tenderness
    • Examine the external anal area looking for anal fissure or external hemorrhoids
    • Examine for signs of bleeding disorders - e.g. bruising , bleeding gums, swollen painful joints.
  • more tests...»

Rectal bleeding: Animations

Medications or substances causing Rectal bleeding:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Rectal bleeding as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Rectal bleeding:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Rectal bleeding as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Mevacor (Lovastatin) interaction
  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Advil (Ibuprofen) interaction
  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Motrin (Ibuprofen) interaction
  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Nuprinl (Ibuprofen) interaction
  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Aleve (Naproxen) interaction
  • Coumadin (Warfarin) and Naprosyn (Naproxen) interaction
  • more interactions...»

Rectal bleeding: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Rectal bleeding may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Rectal bleeding

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Rectal bleeding:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Rectal bleeding. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Rectal bleeding Assessment Questionnaire (24 listings)

Rectal bleeding: Deaths

Read more about causes and Rectal bleeding deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Rectal bleeding

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women 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, is over-diagnosed, 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 "good" 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 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" 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, of course, also fail to be 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 variety 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 more »

Rectal bleeding: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Rectal bleeding

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Rectal bleeding:

Rectal bleeding: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Rectal bleeding: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Organs affected by Rectal bleeding:

The list of organs typically affected by Rectal bleeding may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Rectal bleeding

The list below shows some of the causes of Rectal bleeding mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Rectal bleeding?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Rectal bleeding. Of the 324 causes of Rectal bleeding that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 2 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 7 causes are "common" diseases
  • 6 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 18 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 302 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Rectal bleeding:

The following list of conditions have 'Rectal bleeding' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Rectal bleeding or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z

























Conditions listing medical complications: Rectal bleeding:

The following list of medical conditions have Rectal bleeding or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.




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Causes of Rectal bleeding Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Rectal bleeding based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Rectal bleeding?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Rectal bleeding, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Rectal bleeding:

    Subtypes of Rectal bleeding:

    Bloody stool (406 causes), Anal bleeding (13 causes), Bright red blood on toilet paper (7 causes), Bloody diarrhea (75 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Rectal bleeding:

    Bleeding symptoms (1783 causes), Bloody stool (406 causes), Anal symptoms (466 causes), Digestive symptoms (5299 causes), Stool symptoms (2508 causes), Stool color (387 causes), Rectal symptoms (88 causes), Lower abdominal symptoms (3048 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Digestive system symptoms (5299 causes), Bowel problems (2509 causes), Bowel movements (2383 causes)

    Symptoms related to Rectal bleeding:

    Rectal pain (27 causes), Constipation (726 causes), Rectal itch (8 causes), Stool symptoms (2508 causes), Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, Familial polyposis, Gardner syndrome, Anal fissure (10 causes), Milk protein allergy in breast-fed infant, Proctitis (21 causes), Meckel's diverticulum, Vascular anomalies of the small intestine or colon, Intestinal hemangioma, Intestinal arteriovenous malformation

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Rectal bleeding

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Rectal bleeding and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Rectal bleeding

    Medical research papers related to Rectal bleeding include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Rectal bleeding:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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