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Rectal Bleeding

What You Need to Know About Rectal Bleeding

Blood in the stool is a common problem, most often caused by anal fissures or hemorrhoids. When this occurs, the blood is typical bright red in color and easily noticed. After you have a bowel movement, you might see blood on your toilet paper, in the toilet bowl or on the stool itself.

Blood in stool is a common health issue, but it can also indicate the presence of a more serious medical condition. If you have rectal bleeding, you should seek medical attention. Here are some other things to watch for.

Profuse bright red blood

If you have a lot of blood in your stool, this can be a sign of a very serious condition. Common cause of profuse blood in the stool include:

  • Colitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Colon cancer
  • Polyp or tumor inside the digestive tract
  • Irritation of the intestinal lining

If you notice blood in your stool of this variety, it is vital to seek medical help. Anemia can occur or it may be a sign of a serious health problem.

Occult bleeding

In some cases, the amount of blood being passed in the colon is quite small, making it difficult to recognize. This “occult” bleeding, often requires a testing of the stool for its identification and may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. This type of bleeding may be due to colorectal polyps or cancers, and if found, your doctor may suggest a colonoscopy in order to obtain additional information and to rule out the presence of a malignancy or a pre-malignant lesion.

In order to spot lesser amounts of blood, it is recommended that patients monitor their bowel movements so that they become familiar with the usual color and consistency. This can be a life-saving method that helps with early detection of cancer.

The American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines for colon cancer screening, and if you have experienced blood in your stool it is important to schedule a screening. Those over age 50 should have a screening done every 10 years, while those in a high-risk category will need more frequent screenings or screenings beginning at a younger age. Colon cancer is treatable, especially when it is caught in the early stages.

If you’re concerned about these, or similar symptoms, contact a physician near you today.

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