Rectal bleeding is blood coming from the anus at the end of the digestive tract and may be associated with stools or bowel movements or seen in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper.
Rectal hemorrhage, bleeding per rectum, rectum bleeding, rectorrhagia, proctorrhagia, prb.
Rectal bleeding is a common problem, often caused by constipation, anal fissures or hemorrhoids. It can be an indication of serious occult disease and should be evaluated by a physician. If bright red blood, maroon blood clots, or a large amount of black tarry stools are passed from the rectum, it is a medical emergency and treatment should be sought immediately.
Cancer of the esophagus
Polyp of large intestine
Diagnosis and Treatments
A comprehensive evaluation by a physician is necessary to determine the cause of rectal bleeding. Treatment will depend on accompanying symptoms and the diagnosis. Diagnostic studies might include colonoscopy, stool culture, x-rays, blood tests, barium studies, fecal occult blood testing and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening tests after age 50 for colon cancer. Screening should begin at an earlier age if there is a family history of colon cancer:
Fecal occult blood testing annually
Flexible sigmoidoscopy or barium enema every 5 years
Colonoscopy every 10 years
Maintain intestinal health by eating a healthy diet, high in fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of fluids and get regular exercise to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticula.
Call your provider:
Report rectal bleeding to your doctor immediately. If bleeding is heavy and bright red in color, seek emergency medical treatment.
If rectal bleeding is accompanied by:
Written by: JC Jones MA, RN Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD Written: November 29, 2007 Last Updated: November 30, 2007 Published By:
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