Bleeding in the Bowel

Dr. Kolachalam, Rectal Bleeding  

 

What conditions are bleeding in the bowel associated?

 

In the lower digestive tract, the large intestine and rectum are frequent sites of bleeding.

Inflammation from various causes can contribute to produce extensive bleeding from the colon. Different intestinal infections can cause inflammation and bloody diarrhea as well.

  • Ulcerative colitis can produce inflammation and extensive surface bleeding from tiny ulcerations.
  • Crohn’s disease of the large intestine can also produce bleeding.
  • Diverticular disease caused by Diverticular outpouching of the colon wall can result in massive bleeding.
  • As we age, abnormalities may develop in the blood vessels of the large intestine, which may result in recurrent rectal bleeding.

 

What are some causes of rectal bleeding?

 

Some common causes of rectal bleeding include:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissure
  • Infection
  • Inflammation (ulcerative colitis)
  • Colorectal polyps
  • Colon cancer
  • Diverticular disease

 

What are Hemorrhoids?

 

Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of visible blood especially blood that appears bright red. Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins in the anal area that can rupture and produce bright red blood, which can show up in the toilet or on toilet paper. If red blood is seen, however, it is essential to exclude other causes of bleeding since the anorectal area may also be the site of cuts (fissures), inflammation, or cancer.

 

Is it Cancer?

 

Benign growths or polyps of the colon are very common and are thought to be forerunners of cancer. These growths can cause either bright red blood or occult bleeding. Colon cancer often causes occult bleeding, but not necessarily visible bleeding.

 

What are the symptoms of rectal bleeding?

 

The signs of bleeding in the digestive tract depend upon the site and severity of bleeding.

If blood is coming from the rectum or the lower colon:

  • Bright red blood will coat or mix with the stool.

If higher up in the colon or far end of the small intestine:

  • The stool may be mixed with darker blood

If sudden massive bleeding occurs a person my experience feelings of:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock may occur
  • Rapid pulse
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Difficulty in producing urine
  • May become very pale.

 

If bleeding is slow and occurs over a long period of time, a gradual onset of:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pallor from the anemia
    • Anemia is a condition in which the blood’s iron-rich substance, hemoglobin, is diminished.

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

 

When diagnosing rectal bleeding, the site of the bleeding must be located if possible.

  • A complete history and physical examination are essential.

Dr. Kolachalam may test your stool for blood at first before offering a diagnosis. A blood count will indicate whether you are anemic and also will give an idea of the extent of the bleeding and how chronic it has been.

Symptoms such as:

  • changes in bowel habits
  • changes in stool color (to black or red)
  • changes in consistency
  • presence of pain or tenderness may tell the doctor which area of the Gastro Intestinal tract is affected.

Dr. Kolachalam may need to perform a colonoscopy procedure which allow accurate detection and examination of the area of the large intestine that is bleeding. Because the endoscope can detect lesions and confirm the presence or absence of bleeding, this procedure is often chosen to diagnose patients with acute bleeding. In many cases, Dr. Kolachalam can also use the endoscope to treat the cause of bleeding as well.

Colonoscopy is a procedure which allows Dr. Kolachalam to view the colon and rectum, collect small samples of tissue (biopsies), and to take photographs for later reference.

 

What is the treatment for Rectal Bleeding?

 

  • Colonoscopy is the primary diagnostic and therapeutic procedure for most causes of gastro intestinal bleeding.
  • Removal of polyps with an endoscope can control bleeding from colon polyps
  • Removal of hemorrhoids by banding or various heat or electrical devices (such as infra-red coagulation or IRC) is effective in patients who suffer from hemorrhoid bleeding on a recurrent basis.
  • Endoscopic injection or cautery can be used to treat bleeding sites throughout the lower intestinal tract.

 

Preparing for your Colonscopy:

 

Visit these pages for preparation for your Colonoscopy:

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