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Bleeding from the rectum

Only a minority of cases of rectal bleeding is due to serious illness. Most cases are due to benign conditions relatively easily treated.

However, all cases of bleeding from the rectum need to be examined by a medical specialist to determine the cause of the bleeding.

In all cases it will be necessary to perform an endoscopy of the rectum and lower colon.

When it comes to freshly bleeding without other symptoms an examination of the rectum and lower part of the colon, a sigmoidoscopy, has to be performed.

You can read more about the examination on this website.

If there are other symptoms like abdominal pain, stool changes, mucus departure, weight loss or otherwise, a full endoscopy of the rectum and large bowel, a colonoscopy, has to be performed.

You can read more about the examination on this website.

The causes of bleeding from the rectum can be many. There may be:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Tears or fissures in the anal canal
  • Rupture of blood vessels
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Large bowel diverticula
  • Polyps
  • Bowel cancer
  • Ulcers

You can read more about these conditions and how they are treated here on the website.

More rare conditions are:

  • Overdose of blood thinning medication
  • Diseases of the blood clotting mechanisms
  • Aneurysm on the main artery
  • Poor blood circulation in the intestine
  • Blood clot in the intestine

Unless the cause of the bleeding can be determined, and especially if there is suspicion of bleeding of more serious character, you need to get examined in the hospital as well.

Important information you can give the doctor:

  • How long has this been going on?
  • Bleeding occurs only in the toilet?
  • Is it really fresh red bleeding not mixed into the stool?
  • Or old blood mixed into the stool?
  • If stool or stool pattern changed?
  • Have you had weight-loss?
  • Are there other symptoms such as pain, burning or itching?
  • Are there serious intestinal diseases in the family (bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease)?
  • Are you on any kind of medication?