5 Frequently Asked Questions About Rectal Bleeding
For most people, talking about bleeding from the rectum may be difficult since it’s intimate and, to some, embarrassing to seek treatment. However, if you’re experiencing rectal bleeding, here are the five questions you’re likely to have.
By answering these questions, you’ll be on your way to figuring out what’s going on and getting the help you need.
Read on and find out more.
1. What are the causes of Rectal Bleeding?
There are many things that could cause rectal bleeding, including haemorrhoids and fissures. It’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing this, as it may indicate that there is something more serious going on with your health.
The most common reason for blood in stools is because people neglect that their anal glands may have swollen, resulting in bleeding during bowel movements.
However, while most cases of rectal bleeding could be minor, bleeding of the rectum has also been associated with other potential illnesses such as Crohn’s disease or rectal cancer.
If you experience persistent rectal bleeding that lasts more than 2-3 days, you must seek medical advice for a proper diagnosis. Additionally, you might want to be on the lookout for signs of abdominal pain which may signal issues within your colon.
2. What are the symptoms of Rectal Bleeding?
The symptoms of rectal bleeding may vary depending on what is causing it. Most commonly, rectal bleeding is associated with haemorrhoids or anal fissures.
Common symptoms of haemorrhoids (or piles) may include:
- An itchy or painful lump near the anus
- Faecal leakage
- Pain during bowel movements
- Blood in stools after a bowel movement
On the other hand, common symptoms of an anal fissure may include:
- Pain, which may be sharp or acute, during bowel movements. This pain may last up to several hours.
- Bleeding bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl
- A visible tear in the skin near the anus
- Irritation or itchiness around the anus
- A lump on the skin around the anal fissure
- Spasms in your anal sphincter, the ring of muscle at the bottom of your anus
While there’s no immediate way to detect if these two conditions are the main causes of rectal bleeding, further tests are usually recommended to diagnose them properly.
3. How is Rectal Bleeding diagnosed?
If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, it’s important to see a doctor if the bleeding persists after 2-3 days.
You may first undergo a physical examination to check for external signs of bleeding. Further investigative tests such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy may be ordered to determine the cause of your symptoms.
A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inside of your rectum and colon (large intestine) using a long, flexible tube equipped with a camera. A sigmoidoscopy is a similar test, but it uses a shorter, less flexible tube. These tests can help your doctor identify the source of the bleeding and determine the best treatment. In some cases, rectal bleeding may be a symptom of a more serious condition, so it’s essential to see a doctor to determine if other conditions may be the cause of the bleeding.
Through a colonoscopy, your doctor will also be able to detect much more severe conditions such as:
- Colon Polyps
- Colorectal Cancer
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
4. How is Rectal Bleeding treated?
The treatment for rectal bleeding will vary depending on the underlying cause. However, common treatments include medications, surgery, or lifestyle changes.
In most cases, your doctor may prescribe you medication and painkillers to help alleviate the pain while you recover. Other non-invasive forms of treatment may involve lifestyle changes that can reduce strain on your body’s system, such as exercise and dieting.
In some cases, surgery may be the recommended treatment for rectal bleeding when medications do not prove effective in treating the illness or when the condition may lead to complications if not treated immediately.
5. What are the risks associated with Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding can be a sign of a more serious problem and should not be ignored. Some of the risks associated with rectal bleeding include cancer, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other intestinal issues.
In most cases, early detection and intervention of these diseases can help ensure recovery. As with the cases reported in Straits Times, the five-year survival rate for people with Stage 1 colorectal cancer is between 85 to 95 per cent, while survivor rates for Stage 4 cancer are reduced to less than 5 per cent.
So, if you notice rectal bleeding or suspect that something is amiss, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing rectal bleeding of any kind, don’t wait – make an appointment with our doctor today. While the majority of cases are not life-threatening, it is always better to be safe than sorry. And remember, a colonoscopy is the best way to rule out any serious problems and put your mind at ease.
G & L Surgical Clinic endeavours to be your trusted medical advisor to answer questions relating to rectal bleeding, consider scheduling an assessment with our team to better understand your health. Contact us directly via WHATSAPP or call our CLINIC for assistance.