Rectal bleeding may show up as bright red blood on a tissue, or it can show up as darkened stools. It may be caused by something as common as hemorrhoids, or it could be a sign of a potentially serious condition like colorectal cancer. If you notice signs of rectal bleeding, you should seek out the services of your gastroenterologist.
When you experience rectal bleeding, you may experience other signs and symptoms like these:
- Pain or pressure in or around your rectum
- Bright red blood in your underwear, in the toilet, or in your stool
- Dark red, maroon or black, tarry appearance in your stool
- Dizziness, confusion, light-headedness, or fainting
- An anal fissure
- A fistula or anal abscess
- Diverticulitis or diverticulosis
- Ulcers or intestinal polyps
- Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD
- Colorectal cancer
Your gastroenterologist will do a comprehensive medical examination and recommend testing to determine the cause of your rectal bleeding, which will indicate what type of treatment is best for you.
- Stool tests, to check for blood and abnormal DNA in your stool
- A sigmoidoscopy, to examine the lower colon and rectal lining
- A colonoscopy, to examine the entire colon and rectal lining
- CT colonography, using CT technology to take scans of your bowel
These tests may be combined to aid in diagnosis. Once the cause of your rectal bleeding has been established, your gastroenterologist can recommend the most effective treatment to stop the bleeding and restore your good health.