When Is Rectal Bleeding a Cause for Alarm?

When you notice blood in your stool, it can understandably raise your alarm bells. You can suspect the blood is coming from your rectum when you notice bright red or maroon blood in your stool, on a piece of toilet paper after you wipe, or a trickle in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement.

However, if you see black coloration in your stool, it’s also a possible sign of bleeding. In this case it’s not coming from your rectum but from farther up in the digestive tract -- and you need to consult us at GastroDoxs right away.

You may experience rectal bleeding due to relatively mild issues, like hemorrhoids, but also because of serious issues, like cancer. If you have bleeding that persists for more than a day or two, get checked out by a medical professional.

Our board-certified gastroenterologist Bharat Pothuri, MD, of GastroDoxs serves patients in the greater Houston, Texas, area. He makes these recommendations about seeking care for rectal bleeding.

Minor causes of rectal bleeding

Less concerning causes of rectal bleeding include anal fissures, constipation, hemorrhoids, and polyps. While these causes aren’t considered an “emergency,” you may still need to seek care from our office. They can result in uncomfortable symptoms and could indicate a serious underlying condition.

For example, if your constipation is chronic (lasting three weeks or longer), consult with Dr. Pothuri. He can offer solutions so you find relief and make sure you’re not suffering from a more serious issue, like an intestinal blockage. 

Hemorrhoids also deserve a visit to our office if they’re causing regular rectal bleeding. We can help ease your pain and resolve them so you don’t continue to suffer.

Anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus that may result from persistent diarrhea, constipation, pregnancy, or inflammatory bowel disease. If you have bleeding due to suspected anal fissues, and are suffering additional ailments, such as unexplained weight loss and chronic loose stools, come see Dr. Pothuri as soon as possible.

Polyps are small tissue growths that develop on the lining of the rectum or the colon. Polyps are often benign, but they bleed when you pass stool. On the other hand, polyps can be precancerous, so it’s smart to have them evaluated.

Potentially serious causes

Persistent rectal bleeding has potentially serious causes that require care from a board-certified gastroenterologist.

These serious causes are less common, but possible, and include:

If you have rectal bleeding that persists for more than one or two bowel movements, make an appointment at our office. It’s best to get checked out sooner rather than later. When these serious conditions are caught early, they’re easier to treat. 

Emergency care required

If you have significant rectal bleeding accompanied by fainting, confusion, nausea, shallow breathing, dizziness, or blurred vision, call 911 right away. These are signs of shock and you require immediate medical care.

At GastroDoxs, we care about your digestive health. A one-off spot of blood isn’t a major cause for alarm, but if you notice it’s prolific or persistent, it’s best to contact GastroDoxs. If you’re in the Greater Houston area and want to have your gastrointestinal symptoms assessed, call to set up your appointment or book it online.

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