It’s understandably alarming to see blood smeared on your tissue or dripping into the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. But rectal bleeding is more common than most individuals realize. The cause is typically traced to an issue within the rectum or lower colon, but may also occur outside the rectum, such as with anal tears (cuts) or external hemorrhoids.
Regardless of the cause, however, you should see a doctor when you develop rectal bleeding to rule out more serious issues and/or gain relief from your symptoms.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, Dr. Betsy Clemens specializes in anorectal issues, many of which may lead to rectal bleeding. Our patients appreciate her kind and caring personality as well as her skill in accurately diagnosing and treating the various causes of rectal bleeding.
Dr. Clemens’s goal is to relieve your symptoms by treating the underlying issue and to make sure you feel comfortable discussing sometimes-embarrassing topics such as rectal bleeding.
Characterizing the blood
You can expect Dr. Clemens to ask questions about the characteristics of the blood you’ve noticed because its color and consistency can help identify where the bleeding is occurring.
For instance, most rectal bleeding starts in your rectum or lower colon and is typically bright red. Very dark red or even maroon-colored blood may indicate an issue higher in the colon or small bowel. A dark tarry substance (melena) mixed with stool can point to problems in the stomach, such as bleeding ulcers.
As part of her detailed review, Dr. Clemens is also likely to ask when the bleeding began, how frequently it occurs, and other questions that help further clarify your symptoms.
Possible causes of rectal bleeding
A variety of issues can lead to rectal bleeding. Fortunately, most are not too worrisome, and though admittedly painful at times, they are generally easily treated. These include:
- Hemorrhoids, most common
- Rectal polyps that may or may not indicate cancerous changes
- Anal fissure or tear in the moist, thin tissue lining the anus
- Abscess or area of infection in the anus
Other conditions that may cause rectal bleeding include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Diverticulosis or diverticulitis
Resolving your rectal bleeding in these cases includes treatment for the chronic condition.
Although they’re relatively rare, more serious issues such as colorectal cancer or ulcerative colitis can also cause rectal bleeding. That’s one reason we recommend you see Dr. Clemens for an evaluation regarding your rectal bleeding. Keep in mind that even conditions like colorectal cancer are more easily and successfully treated when the disease is diagnosed early.
Also, there’s really no reason to suffer with rectal bleeding when a quick visit to Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center may be all you need to ease your concerns and solve the problem.
Treatment for rectal bleeding
Treatment depends upon the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding. For instance, if your bleeding is due to recurring or persistent hemorrhoids, Dr. Clemens may recommend a nonsurgical treatment such as infrared coagulation (IRC), which offers fast relief from pain and bleeding.
If an anal fissure is causing your symptoms, she may recommend a change in diet that keeps your stools soft and eliminates the need to strain during a bowel movement. These measures help relieve pressure on rectal tissue structures when you’re passing stool and gives these small, but often painful, anal skin tears time to heal.
If your symptoms are due to factors outside of Dr. Clemens’ treatment specialty, such as peptic ulcers, she’ll make a referral to the appropriate specialist.
If you’re having problems with rectal bleeding or require any of the other services we offer, schedule an appointment today at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center. Call the office, or book your visit online.