There are several reasons why you may see blood in your stool. It’s more common to see blood on the outside of your stool, such as a drop or two of blood in the toilet after a bowel movement or a small amount of blood after wiping. Two most common reasons patients experience blood in their stools is due to hemorrhoids and anal fissures (a painful anal tear). There are many other diseases and anorectal conditions such as condyloma (anal warts) and diverticulosis that can cause blood in your stool. Rectal bleeding may not be painful. When the blood is bright red it’s usually an indication the blood is coming your lower colon. The only way to be certain of the cause of rectal bleeding is to be evaluated by a board-certified colon & rectal surgeon, such as Dr. Lisa A. Perryman, FACS, FASCRS.
Bleeding from higher in the digestive tract can produce darker red blood that you see inside the actual stool—it may even look black. This is because stomach acid turns blood black. It is important you call a specialist sooner rather than later with this type of rectal bleeding. The cause could simply what you’re eating, or it could be something that requires testing to rule out something more serious.
Rectal exam – Certain conditions allow her to detect the cause of rectal bleeding with a simple rectal exam. There is no preparation needed prior to your appointment.
Anoscopy – Using a thin lighted instrument, Dr. Perryman inspects the anus and lower part your rectum. It’s a quick, typically painless procedure done in the office without sedation. Again, there is no preparation needed.
Colonoscopy – You’ve undoubtedly heard of this procedure. During a ‘scope’ she uses a flexible lighted instrument to examine the entire colon. It only takes 30 minutes, and you’re gently sedated so your body is totally relaxed. If you have polyps, which can cause cancer if not removed, she removes them then. Only colonoscopy detects and prevents colorectal cancer, today’s #2 cancer killer.
Warning: If you have significant rectal bleeding, feel faint, confused, dizzy, have difficulty breathing or nausea—call 911.
If you have continuous rectal bleeding with severe abdominal cramping and pain, go to the nearest emergency room.
If your rectal bleeding is intermittent, lasts more than a couple of days, and the symptoms aren’t as serious as above, please call to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Perryman. As we noted before, often rectal bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids or an anal fissure. Both conditions can be treated simply in the office. However, Dr. Perryman may recommend a colonoscopy based on personal and family history of polyps, or other contributing factors.
“Rectal bleeding is not normal and it’s important you do not assume it’s hemorrhoids. You need to be evaluated to rule out anything more serious.” ~ Lisa A. Perryman, MD, FACS, FASCRS
For a health concern like rectal bleeding, don’t rely on the Internet to diagnosis what’s wrong or influence your healthcare decision making too much. Call us at 303-840-8822 or go to www.ColoradoColon.com to request an appointment today.