Finding blood on the toilet paper, or in the toilet after a bowel movement can be scary. But it isn’t always a cause for concern.
What Causes Rectal Bleeding?
There are several common reasons for rectal bleeding. The most common is hemorrhoids. Other causes can include anal fissures, polyps, colitis or tumors.
Bleeding From Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are one of the most common ailments and a likely cause of bleeding.
If you are suffering from them you are certainly not alone. In fact, more than half of the population will develop hemorrhoids at some point, usually after age 30.
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.
They can be caused by hard, dry bowel movements, diarrhea or inflammation of the anorectal area. If a fissure spreads downward it can result in a swollen lump.
Around 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 other health issues such as inflammatory bowel disease or colon polyps.
Most cases of rectal bleeding can be treated easily through non-invasive methods including at-home treatments or out-patient procedures performed in a doctor’s office.
Rectal bleeding certainly isn’t a topic most people want to talk about, but there is no need to be embarrassed.
If you are experiencing rectal bleeding call Richmond’s colon and rectal specialists for an appointment. For over 100 years, we’ve been dedicated to providing patients the best care and treatment of colon and rectal problems.