Rectal Bleeding

Advanced Digestive Care

Gastroenterologists located in Clearwater, FL

In most cases, rectal bleeding isn’t due to a serious health problem, but because in rare cases it can be a symptom of potentially life-threatening disease, it’s always best to get yourself checked out. The team of highly experienced gastroenterologists at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, Florida, has the expertise to diagnose the cause of your rectal bleeding and find the most effective treatments for your condition. Don’t ignore rectal bleeding, just hoping it goes away. Call Advanced Digestive Care today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online tool.

Rectal Bleeding Q & A

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is when you have blood coming from your anus. The blood could be from the anus itself, or from your rectum, which is the end of your colon (large intestine). The blood could also originate further up your digestive tract, as far back as your stomach.

Unless you have severe blood loss that requires emergency treatment, you won’t know you have rectal bleeding until you go to the toilet. It’s then that you see blood in the toilet bowl or on the paper after you wipe.

What causes rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is often due to tears or fissures in the anus or rectum resulting from straining because of a bout of constipation. The hard stools stretch the anal canal too far and cause the tissues to tear, and the harder you strain, the more likely these tears are to occur.

Another frequent cause of rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. These are swollen, tender veins like the varicose veins some people develop on their legs. Hemorrhoids can be external or internal, and they may bleed when you pass stools.

Causes of rectal bleeding from further up your digestive tract include:

  • Colon polyps
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diverticulosis 
  • Proctitis 
  • Angiodysplasia 
  • Ulcerative colitis

If you spot a little blood when you wipe, the most likely cause is a minor tear or bleeding hemorrhoids. However, if you also have other symptoms or the bleeding continues for more than a day, you should contact Advanced Digestive Care.

What other symptoms might I have with rectal bleeding?

Other symptoms you might have as well as rectal bleeding include pain or pressure in the rectum, and possibly confusion, light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting.

The blood you see could vary in color from bright red to almost black, indicating where the blood is coming from. Bright red blood typically comes from your anus, rectum, or lower colon.

Dark red or maroon blood is likely to be from higher up the colon, while black, tarry blood known as melena is from your stomach. If you see blood this color, or you see bright red blood and have any other symptoms, call Advanced Digestive Care for advice.

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

Your provider at Advanced Digestive Care can see from a physical exam if you have anal tears or fissures, or any internal or external hemorrhoids.

If the bleeding is coming from further up your intestinal tract, you might need to undergo diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy on your large bowel or an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to look at your stomach and upper intestine.

Treatment for your rectal bleeding depends on what’s causing it. Tears and hemorrhoids usually clear up within a few days, and you can prevent them from happening again by avoiding constipation and the straining it causes.

Call Advanced Digestive Care today if you’re concerned about rectal bleeding, or book an appointment online.