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Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is when blood passes from the rectum or anus. Bleeding may be noted on the stool or be seen as blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowel. The blood may be bright red.​

Considerations

The color of the blood in the stools may indicate the source of the bleeding.

 

Black stool may be caused by bleeding in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract (i.e., esophagus, stomach, or first part of the small intestine).  In this scenario, the blood is darker because it gets digested on its way through the GI tract.  If the bleeding is red in color or fresh, it can mean that the source of the bleeding is in the lower gastrointestinal tract (i.e., colon and rectum).

 

Eating certain foods such as beets or food with red food coloring may make the stool appear red in color. 

Causes

Causes of rectal bleeding may include but are not limited to:

 

  • Anal fissure (break or tear in the skin of the anal canal, often caused by constipation, the passing of large hard stools and diarrhea).  Anal fissures may cause a sudden onset of rectal bleeding as well as pain at the anal opening.

  • Hemorrhoids, a common cause of bright red bleeding.  Hemorrhoids may or may not be painful.

  • Proctitis (inflammation or swelling of the rectum and anus)

  • Rectal prolapse (rectum protrudes from the anus)

  • Trauma 

  • Foreign body

  • Colorectal polyps

  • Colon, rectal, or anal cancer

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Diverticulitis

  • Diverticulosis

When to Contact a Colon and Rectal Specialist?

It is important that symptoms be evaluated by a colon-rectal surgeon before you try self-treatment.  A colon-rectal surgeon will perform a thorough examination and recommend treatment.  The physicians at Connecticut Colon & Rectal Surgery, LLC develops an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms and examination. 

 

 

Please contact our office if you are experiencing:

 

  • Blood in your stool

  • Blood in the toilet bowel

  • Blood on the toilet paper after wiping

  • Change in the color of your stools

  • Pain in the anal area while sitting or passing stools

  • Incontinence or lack of control over the passage of stools

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness or fainting

 

You should be evaluated by a colorectal surgeon and undergo an in office anorectal examination, even if you think that hemorrhoids are causing the rectal bleeding. 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your colorectal specialist will take a complete medical history and perform a physical examination.  The examination will focus on your abdomen and rectum.

 

You may be asked the following questions:

  • Is there blood on the toilet paper only?

  • Have you had more than one episode of blood in your stool?  Is every stool this way?

  • What color is your stool?

  • When did this problem develop?

  • What other symptoms are present (abdominal pain, vomiting blood, bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, constipation, or fever)?

  • Have you had any trauma to the abdomen or rectum?

  • Have you unintentionally lost weight recently?

 

You may need to have one or more exams/tests to look for the cause:

 

  • Digital rectal exam

  • Anoscopy

  • Sigmoidoscopy

  • Colonoscopy

  • Stool cultures

 

 

 To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (860) 826-3880 or request an appointment online.  If appropriate and availability allows, a consultation appointment will be scheduled for you to be seen by one of our experienced physicians, generally, within a two-week timeframe of contacting the office.  Procedures are generally scheduled shortly thereafter.

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