Rectal Bleeding

Gastroenterology in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Rectal Bleeding services offered in Irvine, Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA

Rectal bleeding can be caused by irritating hemorrhoids or a life-threatening disease like colorectal cancer. If you experience rectal bleeding, Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants in Santa Ana, Irvine, and Anaheim, California, can help. Their highly experienced doctors offer prompt, accurate rectal bleeding diagnosis and expert treatment of its cause. Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for a fast solution to rectal bleeding.

Rectal Bleeding Q&A

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is where blood comes out of your anus. The blood can come from any part of your gastrointestinal tract, but the most likely sources are the anus and the rectum. The rectum connects your anus (the muscular ring through which you pass stools) to the colon (large bowel).

Looking at the color of blood provides clues to its source. Bright red blood comes from your anus, rectum, or lower colon. Maroon (darker red) blood comes from the upper colon or small intestine higher up your gastrointestinal tract. Black, tarry blood (melena) is probably from your stomach.

People usually notice rectal bleeding on the toilet paper after wiping or see it in the toilet bowl before they flush. It can be alarming to see this blood, but the cause is often easily treated.

What causes rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is most often caused by constipation and hemorrhoids. When constipated, the dry, hard stools you produce can tear the anal tissues and make them bleed during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids (swollen, painful anal veins) might bleed if they’re damaged by hard stools.

Less common but more serious causes of rectal bleeding include:

  • Colon cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Anal cancer
  • Angiodysplasia (blood vessel abnormality)
  • Rectal cancer
  • Ulcerative colitis

These conditions are likely to cause additional symptoms, including abdominal or rectal pain, diarrhea, pus or mucus in your stools, and fecal incontinence (a loss of bowel control).

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

To find the cause of your rectal bleeding, your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor completes a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms. They might order lab tests, usually using blood and stool samples.

If the bleeding isn’t caused by hemorrhoids or anal tears, your doctor would recommend a colonoscopy. This involves having a slim, flexible pipe fitted with a camera (colonoscope) in your rectum and colon.

If the blood is likely coming from your stomach, you might need an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy). Capsule endoscopy might be required to examine your small intestine.

How is rectal bleeding treated?

Rectal bleeding treatment varies depending on the underlying cause. You might benefit from rubber band ligation or sclerotherapy if you have hemorrhoids.

Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) usually respond to anti-inflammatory medication (mesalamine and/or steroids). Other treatments include immunosuppressants and biologic medicines that calm the immune system response.

If you have colorectal cancer, your doctor can remove polyps and small masses during a colonoscopy. But you might need surgery if the cancer is more advanced.

Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online to find the cause of your rectal bleeding.