Rectal bleeding is the expulsion of blood through the rectum or anus, which may occur associated or not to defecation. It is a sign that may reflect the presence of a problem of greater or lesser importance in the rectum, colon or small intestine, so it is necessary to consult the doctor as soon as it is detected.
More frequent symptoms of rectal bleeding:
- Rectal pain, rectal pruritus or rectal inflammation
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea with blood clots
- Rectal bleeding can occur before or after defecation, and may be painless.
Causes of rectal bleeding:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcers in the digestive tract
- Intestinal angiomas (anomalous vascular structures in the digestive tract)
- Abnormal growths in the digestive tract (polyps or tumors)
- Rectal prolapse
The gastrointestinal tract
The gastrointestinal tract comprises the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum and anus. After ingesting the food, it is digested as it passes through the digestive system, producing the absorption of liquids and the different nutrients are the different stretches of the gastrointestinal tract; solid waste is collected in the rectum.
Rectal bleeding and gastrointestinal problems
The cause of rectal bleeding can be found anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract; the most frequent is that it occurs in the rectum or colon, but if after an adequate analysis of these areas we do not find the lesion, we must extend it to the rest of the digestive tract (small intestine, duodenum and stomach).
Diagnosis and treatment of rectal bleeding
Your coloproctologist should perform a complete clinical review in order to find the cause of the rectal bleeding, including anamnesis or clinical interview and physical examination or examination.
Anamnesis and physical examination: the patient will be subjected to a series of questions related to his symptoms (if he ever had the same problem, associated symptoms, etc.) and questions about his health.
The examination will consist of a visual inspection of the anus and, subsequently, a manual examination by rectal examination. The introduction of a small tube in the anus (anuscope) will allow the visualization of the interior of the same.
Complementary examinations: the simplest test is the observation of the stools, which the patient performs at home, constituting the reason for consultation; the rest of complementary tests will be done in a medical center.
- Rigid sigmoidoscope: allows to examine about 20-25 cm. of colon from year. The bowel should be prepared with an irrigation or enema.
- Colonoscopy: performed with a long flexible instrument that can allow exploration of the entire colon. Requires previous bowel preparation. It can cause discomfort and discomfort during its realization.
- Opaque enema: also requires intestinal preparation. It is a special radiological test in which a contrast is introduced by the anus to fill the colon and draw its surface (mucosa); X-rays are taken in different projections to obtain a complete diagnosis of colon and rectum. Sometimes air is also introduced to improve the interpretation of the test (double contrast enema).
- Endoscopy: revision of the esophagus and stomach with a flexible tube inserted through the mouth. This technique is performed in the rare cases in which previous tests have not been able to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
Treatment of rectal bleeding
Treatment depends on the cause that causes it. Based on the data found during the analysis, your doctor will propose a specific action plan for each case. Sometimes the rectal bleeding ceases spontaneously, but even in these cases the corresponding diagnosis must be made to rule out the presence of a serious underlying problem.