In most cases, rectal bleeding is not a sign of something serious -- but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the symptoms. While the most common cause of rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids, in some cases rectal bleeding is the indication of a serious disease such as colon cancer.
At GastroDoxs, Dr. Bharat Pothuri evaluates any worrisome rectal bleeding so you can get a diagnosis and treatment, when necessary. Read on to further understand the possible causes of your rectal bleeding.
Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins around the rectum, come in two types: internal and external, and either type can bleed. When veins inside the rectum swell, you have internal hemorrhoids, while external hemorrhoids occur under the skin around the outside of the anus.
You may develop hemorrhoids due to chronic constipation, work strain, obesity, anal intercourse, or pregnancy. Addressing the underlying cause of your hemorrhoids often helps you find relief, but in some cases, Dr. Pothuri recommends a minor surgical treatment, such as rubber band ligation or hemorrhoidectomy.
An anal fissure is a split or tear in the lining of the anus that causes burning and bleeding after a bowel movement. Usually fissures resolve on their own, but Dr. Pothuri can offer medications to relax the sphincter muscle and relieve pain. In rare cases, surgery is used to treat a fissure that won’t heal on its own.
Perianal abscesses and fistulas
If the small glands that open up inside your anus to help pass stool become infected or blocked, you may form an abscess that’s vulnerable to bleeding. The abscess can be drained for relief and resolution.
But sometimes these perianal abscesses form a fistula, or connection between the anus or rectum to the skin around the anus. Surgery is necessary to help you heal from a fistula.
Diverticulosis or inflammatory bowel disease
With diverticulosis, a weakened section of the intestinal lining can create a protrusion through the bowel wall, causing a small, irritating pouch. The condition is not serious, but can lead to bleeding and other complications.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a separate disorder in which you experience chronic inflammation of the small or large intestine. You may suspect IBD if you also have diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. IBD is serious and requires a special diet, customized for you by Dr. Pothuri. He also prescribes medication and sometimes surgery.
If you have an imbalance of digestive fluids in your stomach, ulcers can form. Ulcers can possibly bleed, causing a blackness in your stool. Changes in your lifestyle, antibiotics, dietary shifts, and medications help heal ulcers.
If another cause of your rectal bleeding isn’t obvious, you may need a colonoscopy to screen for polyps or colon cancer. Polyps are growths that appear in the lining of the large intestine and often become cancerous with time. Large polyps have the tendency to bleed. Not all polyps turn into cancer, but usually they’re removed as a preventive step.
If you have rectal bleeding, don’t ignore it. Call GastroDoxs or book an appointment using this website to rule out serious causes. And even if your bleeding is caused by something relatively benign, our team can help you find relief and give you peace of mind.