Seeing blood in your stool or when you wipe after a bowel movement can be alarming, but in most cases, it’s easily treatable. If you experience rectal bleeding, visit Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists. At their offices in North Wantagh, South Wantagh, and Garden City, New York, the board-certified physicians diagnose and treat the causes of rectal bleeding, from inflammatory bowel disease to hemorrhoids. Call your nearest Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists office today or book an appointment online.
Rectal bleeding means there’s blood coming out of your anus. The rectum is at the end of your large intestine, just before the anus. The blood could originate in any part of your gastrointestinal system, but it’s most likely coming from the rectum itself.
The blood’s color indicates its source. Bright red blood is from the anus, rectum, or lower colon. Darker red or maroon blood is coming from higher up, in the upper colon or small intestine. Black, tarry blood (melena) is likely to be from your stomach.
Unless there’s a lot of blood staining your clothes, you probably won’t notice rectal bleeding at first. People often spot it when they wipe after passing stools or see it in the toilet bowl when they flush afterward.
Rectal bleeding could be a symptom of many different problems. The most common are constipation and hemorrhoids.
Constipation, where your stools are hard and dry, causes rectal bleeding if the stool tears the anal tissues as it leaves your rectum. Hemorrhoids are swollen, protruding veins in your anus or rectum. If they get damaged, they might bleed.
Less common causes of rectal bleeding include:
You might have other symptoms with your rectal bleeding, such as pain, difficulty passing stools, diarrhea, pus or mucus in your stools, and a loss of bowel control.
Treating the cause of your rectal bleeding should resolve the issue. To find out what’s wrong, you undergo a physical exam and tests at Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists.
If the bleeding is in your rectum and it’s not due to hemorrhoids or tears, you might need a colonoscopy. If the blood is coming from your stomach, you might need an upper endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy (PillCam™) might be necessary to examine your small intestine.
The treatment you need for rectal bleeding depends on the cause. Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists provides a selection of treatments for hemorrhoids, including rubber band ligation and sclerotherapy.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) usually benefit from anti-inflammatory medications like mesalazine. Unresponsive cases might need steroids, immunosuppressants, or biologic medications. If you have colorectal cancer, you might need surgery.
Most often, rectal bleeding isn’t dangerous and clears up with the right treatment. However, because it can be a sign of more serious illnesses, you should always make sure you know the cause. Call Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.