The rectum is the part of the large intestine just before the anus. Bleeding from the rectum can be caused by hemorrhoids, dysentery, or an inflammatory bowel disease. Rectal bleeding can be a sign of diverticular disease, which is caused by a lack of fiber in the diet.
- Black, tarry or bloody stools
- Anal itching
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
Who is at risk?
See more details on diverticular disease for common risks. Rectal bleeding in children can easily result from constipation, but might also result from a twisted bowel or intestinal obstruction and must be evaluated immediately.
For minimal bleeding due to hemorrhoids or rectal fissures, physicians will usually direct home treatment with lots of water, ice packs and possibly over the counter ointments or suppositories to create movement in the bowels or to soften the stool. Emergency treatment might include an IV in the case of dehydration. The patient could be admitted to the hospital if excessive blood loss has occurred and the vital signs are not normal.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
When fever, pain, vomiting, lightheadedness or discolored stool (black or maroon colored) accompanies rectal bleeding, consult a physician right away. Severe rectal bleeds can be life threatening and should be evaluated in the ED immediately.
Treatment for Rectal Bleeding is available now at Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
For more information on rectal bleeding, see the following websites:
WebMD diagnosis tips
Mayo Clinic Resources on Rectal Bleeding
NDDIC on Diverticular Disease
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