Finding blood in your stool or when you wipe after a bowel movement can set alarm bells ringing. While the cause is likely to be benign, it's vital to find out for sure by visiting the experienced gastroenterologists at the Centers for Digestive Health. The practice has offices in Highland, Merrillville, Dyer, Gary, Crown Point, and DeMotte, Indiana, where the team provides a range of treatments for the causes of rectal bleeding, from hemorrhoids to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer. For a prompt diagnosis of rectal bleeding, call the Centers for Digestive Health today or book an appointment online.
Rectal bleeding is where you can see blood in your underwear, in or on your stools, or on the toilet paper when you wipe after a bowel movement.
The color of the blood indicates the source of the bleeding. Black, tarry blood suggests a problem of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which consists of your stomach and duodenum (the top part of your small intestine). Bright red blood is typical of a lower GI tract condition affecting your rectum or anus.
One frequent cause of rectal bleeding is constipation. The blood comes from small tears in the anal tissues caused by passing large, hard stools. Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins on your anus or just inside your rectum, are also a common cause of rectal bleeding.
While these frequent, treatable problems are the most likely causes of rectal bleeding, there is a chance that the blood could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), diverticulitis, or colorectal cancer. Upper GI bleeding is most likely due to a peptic ulcer.
When you visit the Centers for Digestive Health, your provider reviews your symptoms and any relevant medical or family history with you and performs a physical exam. They may need to examine your rectum to see if there are signs of tears or hemorrhoids.
If the cause of your rectal bleeding isn't clear, or you have any risk factors for conditions like colorectal cancer, you might need to have blood tests and undergo further diagnostic procedures. Possible procedures include:
These tests can help your provider at the Centers for Digestive Health to identify any ulcers, injuries, growths, or signs of inflammation.
The treatment your provider at the Centers for Digestive Health recommends for your rectal bleeding depends on the underlying cause.
Eating a high-fiber diet, drinking more water, and getting regular exercise could be the answer to constipation, which would then prevent anal tearing. If you have hemorrhoids, you might need to undergo a HET™ bipolar system procedure to eliminate them.
Rectal bleeding due to inflammatory bowel disease typically requires the use of anti-inflammatory medications and, in some cases, steroids or immune system suppressants. Severe cases of IBD and advanced colorectal cancer might require surgery.
If you're worried about rectal bleeding, get a prompt diagnosis and the right treatment at the Centers for Digestive Health. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.