Rectal Bleeding : can be a sign of a serious disease
Although rectal bleeding is common and most causes are treatable and not serious. In some cases, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of a serious disease such as colorectal cancer, anal cancer, hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal bleeding.
The color of the blood can indicate where the bleeding is coming from:
- Bright red blood : usually indicates bleeding low in the colon or rectum which may be a sign of haemorrhoids, constipation or other localised conditions.
- Dark red or maroon blood : usually indicates bleeding higher in the colon, the small bowel or gastrointestinal tract.
- Melena mixed with blood clots : usually means bleeding in the stomach which may be a sign of colon cancer or colitis.
Diagnostic Tests for Rectal Bleeding
- Proctoscopy : an endoscopic procedure used to examine the anal canal, rectum, and the sigmoid colon
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy : a procedure that allows doctor to examine the rectum and the lower colon.
- Colonoscopy : an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine and rectum.
The treatment for rectal bleeding depends on the cause and source of the bleeding.