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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 by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you been having the rectal bleeding?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic.

  2. How often does the rectal bleeding occur?
  3. Is it severe?

    Why: presence of severe rectal bleeding would suggest angiodysplasia, ulcerative colitis, amebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, intussusception, mesenteric thrombosis or embolism, diverticulitis, ischemic colitis and coagulation disorders. The site of the bleeding can be anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract since massive bleeding even from the stomach or duodenum may pass rapidly to rectum without becoming discolored to form melena (black tarry stool).

  4. Is the bleeding mixed well with the stool?

    Why: suggests colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Meckel's diverticulum, diverticulitis, large polyp and coagulation disorder.

  5. Is the blood on the toilet paper only?

    Why: this suggests an anal cause.

  6. Is the stool black and tarry? see black stool

    Why: usually due to bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

  7. What is the color of the blood?
  8. Does the bloody stool only occur with menstruation?

    Why: suggests rectal endometriosis.

  9. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. ischemic colitis occurs in the setting of widespread peripheral vascular disease or cardiac disease; Acquired bleeding disorders can occur with liver disease, renal failure, lupus erythematosus and some cancers such as Multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis.

  10. Family history?

    Why: colon or rectal cancer; bleeding disorders, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease.

  11. Medications?

    Why: some medications can increase the risk of rectal bleeding and bloody stools e.g. high dose aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, certain antibiotics including clindomycin, gentamycin, erythromycin.

  12. Alcohol history?

    Why: to establish risk of chronic liver disease and portal hypertension and resultant varices and hemorrhoids.

  13. Diarrhea and/or mucous?

    Why: if associated with rectal bleeding would suggest ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, amebic dysentery or bacterial dysentery (e.g. shigella, salmonella, campylobacter jejuni, yersinia enterocolitica, enteroinvasive and enterohemorrhagic E.Coli).

  14. Fever?

    Why: may suggest bacterial dysentery, amebic dysentery, chronic liver disease secondary to alcoholism, ulcerative colitis.

  15. Easy bruising?

    Why: purpura ( multiple small hemorrhages into the skin or mucous membranes); petechiae (small pinhead size purpura); ecchymoses ( large purpura) - may suggest a bleeding disorder.

  16. Symptoms of intestinal obstruction?

    Why: e.g. colicky abdominal pain, vomiting, abdominal distension and absolute constipation - would suggest intussusception, mesenteric thrombosis, or embolism.

  17. Painful bowel movements?

    Why: anal fissure, thrombosed hemorrhoid or ulcerative proctitis.

  18. Sensation of urgency or unsatisfied defecation?

    Why: suggest a rectal cause.

  19. Anal itch?

    Why: suggests hemorrhoids, fissure or diarrhea causing anal irritation.

  20. Constipation?

    Why: may suggest hemorrhoids, anal fissure, diverticulitis, cancer of the rectum or left side of colon.

  21. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

    Why: e.g. recurrent attacks of loose bloody stools; stools may also have pus and mucous; may have mild abdominal pain.

  22. Symptoms of Crohn's disease?

    Why: e.g. recurrent diarrhea in a young person (20-40 years), blood and mucous in stools, colicky abdominal pain (especially in the right lower abdomen), fever, weight loss and malaise.

  23. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia?

    Why: e.g. lethargy, dizziness, depression, shortness of breath or angina. This would suggest significant rectal blood loss.

  24. Symptoms of bleeding disorders?

    Why: e.g. easy bruising, bleeding gums, bleeding nose, blood in the urine, swollen painful joints.

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.


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