Seeing blood in the toilet, or on toilet paper, after a bowel movement can be scary. But not all rectal bleeding is a sign of something more serious.
What Causes Rectal Bleeding?
There are several common reasons for rectal bleeding. The most common is hemorrhoids. Other causes include anal fissures, polyps, colitis or tumors.
Bleeding From Hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external.
Internal hemorrhoids are more likely to be associated with painless, bright red blood while external hemorrhoids usually do not bleed, but are more painful.
In many cases, hemorrhoids respond to at home treatments including sitz baths (soaking the area in plain warm water for 10-20 minutes, several times a day), not straining during bowel movements or a change in diet.
In cases of recurring, severe or hemorrhoids causing excessive bleeding, there are several treatment options your doctor may recommend.
Bleeding From Fissures
Painful bowel movements with bright red rectal bleeding is usually caused by an anal fissure.
Anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus which can cause pain, bleeding and itching. Pain from fissures can sometimes last for hours.
If a fissure spreads downward it can result in a swollen lump. They can be caused by hard, dry bowel movements, diarrhea or inflammation of the anorectal area.
At least 50 percent of fissures heal by themselves and can be treated with home remedies including application of special medicated cream, use of stool softeners, avoidance of constipation, or sitz baths.
What Should You Do If You See Rectal Bleeding?
While rectal bleeding is often not serious, it is still a good idea to get it checked out by a doctor who can determine the cause and best course of treatment.
At your appointment, if hemorrhoids or fissures are ruled out, your doctor will discuss your family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease and may perform a digital rectal exam or anoscopy to determine the cause.
In most cases, rectal bleeding can be treated easily through non-invasive methods including at-home treatments or out-patient procedures performed in a doctor’s office.
We know it isn’t a topic most people feel comfortable talking about, but if you are experiencing rectal bleeding call Colon and Rectal Specialists in Richmond, VA.
For over 100 years, our practice has been dedicated to providing all patients the special care and education needed for the treatment of colon and rectal problems.
Read more about common anal conditions or learn more the physicians at CRS.