Rectal bleeding can be a very scary symptom. Although cancer is one potential cause of the problem, bleeding isn't always an indication of a serious health problem. Your New York, NY, gastroenterologist, Dr. Babak Mohajer, can determine the cause of your rectal bleeding and offer helpful treatments.
What Can Cause Rectal Bleeding?
Rectal bleeding may be caused by:
- Constipation: Passing hard, dry feces may tear the sensitive skin of the anus. These tears, called anal fissures, tend to bleed after you've had a bowel movement. Straining during a bowel movement increases your risks of developing hemorrhoids, irritated, enlarged veins in your anus or rectum. Hemorrhoids can also bleed after a bowel movement.
- Polyps: Bleeding may be triggered by polyps, small growths that form on the lining of your rectum or colon. Polyps can be cancerous or benign (non-cancerous).
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis may be responsible for the bleeding. The diseases cause inflammation and sores in your digestive tract lining.
- Infections: Gastrointestinal infections, like salmonella, may also cause bleeding.
- Cancer: Rectal bleeding should never be ignored, as it can be a sign of anal or colon cancer in some cases.
Rectal Bleeding Signs
You may notice these signs if you have rectal bleeding:
- Blood in the Toilet or on Toliet Paper After a Bowel Movement: You may notice a few drops of blood on the paper after you wipe. If you notice a large amount of blood, contact your gastroenterologist as soon as possible.
- Change in the Color of Your Stools: Solid stools or diarrhea may be red, maroon, or black due to bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract.
How Is Rectal Bleeding Treated?
Treatment of rectal bleeding depends on the cause. During your visit to the New York gastroenterology office, you'll discuss your symptoms and receive an examination. Your doctor may also recommend tests that will help him determine the source of the bleeding.
If you have hemorrhoids, you may benefit from a high-fiber diet and stool softeners to relieve constipation and treatments to shrink or remove your hemorrhoids. When bleeding is caused by inflammatory bowel disease, medications that reduce inflammation and alter your immune system may be helpful.
Antibiotics and other medications might be prescribed if bleeding is caused by an infection, while surgery and chemotherapy or radiation treatments may be needed if cancer is the cause of your bleeding.
Are you concerned about rectal bleeding? Call your gastroenterologist in New York, Dr. Mohajer, at (212) 260-6505 to schedule your appointment.