If you’ve been noticing blood in the toilet bowl, in your stool, or on your toilet paper lately, you may be feeling a bit concerned. While rectal bleeding is often due to mild conditions such as hemorrhoids, it can be a symptom of something more serious. Dr. Ian Martinez has been assessing and treating rectal bleeding in Oviedo, FL, since 2017. Make an appointment at Gastroenterology Services for an evaluation.
Understanding Rectal Bleeding
Although you may panic when you notice blood after a bowel movement, it’s actually quite common and, normally, caused by non-life-threatening health issues. The color of the blood can be helpful if you’re trying to pinpoint the cause:
- Bright red blood: Bright red blood means that the bleeding is low down in your colon or rectum.
- Maroon blood: Darker blood is an indication that the bleeding is happening higher up in your colon, or in your small bowel.
- Tar-like stool: Black stool, called melena, can mean that bleeding is occurring in the stomach.
Bright-red blood is a sign of minor rectal bleeding. However, when the blood is darker in color, you’re passing more blood and the cause can be more serious.
Possible Causes of Rectal Bleeding
Your rectal bleeding can be the cause of a variety of conditions. Here are a few possible causes:
- Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids, commonly known as piles, are often the cause of minor rectal bleeding. They can either be internal or external, which means that you may not necessarily know that you have them.
- Rectal polyps: As is the case with internal hemorrhoids, you will probably not know you have rectal polyps unless they cause bleeding. Although polyps are benign, it’s important that you have them removed since they can lead to cancer.
- Anal fissures: Constipation can cause small tears in your anus, which can lead to minor bleeding.
- Ulcers: If you notice blood in your stool, you may have ulcers.
- Cancer: Unfortunately, blood in your stool can also be a sign of colon or rectal cancer.
How a Visit To a Gastroenterologist Can Help
Granted, a visit to the doctor to find the cause of rectal bleeding is not first on anyone’s list of fun things to do. However, doing so can potentially save your life. The type of evaluation a gastroenterologist like Dr. Martinez chooses will depend on your symptoms, medical history, and age. Apart from a digital rectal examination, the doctor may opt for an endoscopic exam, such as an anoscopy or colonoscopy.
Put your mind at ease by having your rectal bleeding evaluated at Gastroenterology Services in Oviedo, FL. You can call (407) 478-0882 to book an appointment.