There are many causes of rectal bleeding. The intensity can vary from mild bleeding (typical) to a severe life-threatening bleeding (unusual). If the bleeding is heavy or if you have black stools (faeces) – older blood due to a bleed from high up in the digestive tract – then see a doctor right away or call an ambulance.
Nevertheless, it is often a mild bleed. In this circumstance, make a visit with your doctor so that the cause can be found.
What is Rectal Bleeding?
The term rectal bleeding is used by medical professionals to suggest any blood that when you go to the toilet to pass stools (faeces). However, not all bleeding that really comes from the back passage (anus).
The blood can originate from anywhere in the gut. The more right term is gastrointestinal tract bleeding, frequently abbreviated to GI bleeding. There are numerous causes of blood in your stool (GI bleeding) which are talked about later on.
What is the Digestive Tract?
The digestive tract (intestinal tract) begins at the mouth and ends at the anus. When we eat or drink, the food and liquid travel down the craw (oesophagus) into the stomach. The stomach begins to break up the food and after that passes it into the small intestine.
The small intestine (often called the small bowel) is a number of metres long and is where food is absorbed and absorbed. Undigested food, water and waste products are then entered the big intestine (in some cases called the big bowel). The primary part of the big intestine is called the colon, which has to do with 150 cm long.
This is divided into four areas: the rising, transverse, coming down and sigmoid colon. Some water and salts are taken in into the body from the colon. The colon leads into the back passage (rectum) which has to do with 15 cm long. The rectum stores stools (faeces) before they are lost consciousness from the rectum.
Types of Rectal Bleeding/GI Tract Bleeding
When you have GI bleeding, the important things that a doctor has to assess include the following:
How Bad (Severe) the Bleeding is
Bleeding can range from a mild flow to an enormous life-threatening severe bleed (haemorrhage). Most of the times the bleed is mild and intermittent. In this scenario, any tests that have to be done can be done as an outpatient. There is no immediate risk to life with mild, intermittent GI bleeding. However, always report to a doctor if you have a large quantity of bleeding, as a great deal of blood loss requires urgent treatment.
Often bleeding from a condition in the gut (GI tract) is so mild (like a minor trickle) that you do not observe any actual bleeding and it is insufficient to change the colour of your stools (faeces). However, a test of your faeces can identify even percentages of blood. This test might be carried out in various situations.
Where the Bleeding is originating from
Bleeding can come from throughout the GI tract. As a general guideline:
Bleeding from the anus or low down in the back passage (rectum) – the blood has the tendency to be intense red and fresh. It might not be blended in with faeces but instead you might discover blood after passing faeces, or streaks of blood covering faeces. For example, bleeding from an anal tear (fissure) or from haemorrhoids (described later).
Bleeding from the colon – typically the blood is blended with faeces. The blood might be a darker red. For example, bleeding from colitis, diverticular disease, or from a bowel tumour. Nevertheless, in some cases, if the bleeding is vigorous then you may still get brilliant red blood not blended too much with faeces. For instance, if you have an abrupt big bleed from a diverticulum (described later on).
Bleeding from the stomach or small intestine – the blood has far to travel along the digestive tract before it is passed out. During the time it requires to do this the blood ends up being altered and dark and mixes with faeces. This can make your faeces turn a black or plum colour – this is called melaena.
For instance, this might happen due to a bleeding stomach or duodenal ulcer. Note: if you have melaena it is a medical emergency situation, as it generally suggests a great deal of bleeding that is originating from the stomach or duodenum. You ought to inform a doctor instantly if you presume that you have melaena.
The Cause of the Bleeding
A doctor might ask numerous questions to get an idea regarding the main possible causes of the bleeding. So, for instance, you may be asked about possible symptoms. You might be asked about:
- Whether you have any pain.
- If you have any pain, where it is and what type of pain it is.
- Any itching around your bottom.
- Any change in your bowels, such as diarrhoea or constipation.
- Any weight loss.
- Any history in your family of bowel disease.
The doctor is then likely to examine you. This might include analyzing your back passage (anus and rectum) by placing a gloved finger into your anus. Often they might use an instrument called a proctoscope to look a little way inside your back passage. Often, a diagnosis can be made after this.
For example, of an anal crack or pile (haemorrhoid). Nevertheless, additional tests are frequently needed to clarify the cause. This is because the analyzing finger or the proctoscope can just go a brief method up your GI tract. If no cause is found, the bleeding might be coming from greater up.
What are the Causes of Rectal Bleeding/GI Tract Bleeding?
There are lots of possible causes. Below is a brief introduction of the more typical causes:
Haemorrhoids are swellings that can take place in the rectum and lower back passage (lower anus). There is a network of small capillary (veins) within the within lining of the rectum and lower anus. These veins in some cases end up being wider and filled with more blood than normal.
These swollen (engorged) veins and the overlying tissue might then form into several small swellings called haemorrhoids. Haemorrhoids are very common and many people establish several haemorrhoids at some stage. Small haemorrhoids are typically painless. The most common symptom is bleeding after going to the toilet. Bigger haemorrhoids might cause a mucous discharge, some pain, inflammation and itch.
An anal crack is a small tear of the skin of the anus. Although the tear of an anal fissure is usually small (typically less than a centimetre), it can be very painful since the rectum is really sensitive. Typically an anal fissure will bleed a little. You may discover blood after you pass stools (faeces). The blood is generally intense red and discolorations the toilet paper however soon stops.
A diverticulum is a small pouch with a narrow neck that protrudes from the wall of the gut (intestinal tracts). Diverticula is the word used for more than one diverticulum. They can develop on any part of the gut but generally take place in the colon. Several diverticula may establish in time. A diverticulum may occasionally bleed and you might pass some blood through your rectum.
The bleeding is normally abrupt and painless. The bleeding is because of a burst blood vessel that in some cases takes place in the wall of a diverticulum and so the quantity of blood loss can be heavy. Diverticula can cause other symptoms such as belly pains and changes in the regular bowel practice.
Crohn’s disease is a condition which causes inflammation in the gut. The disease flares from time to time. Symptoms vary, depending upon the part of the gut affected and the seriousness of the condition. Common symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, tummy (abdominal) pain and sensation unwell.
Ulcerative Colitis and other Forms of Colitis
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease where inflammation establishes in the colon and rectum. A typical symptom when the disease flares up is diarrhoea combined with blood. The blood comes from ulcers that establish on the inner wall of the irritated digestive tract. There are other unusual causes of inflammation of the colon (colitis) or inflammation of the anus (proctitis) that can cause blood in your stool.
A bowel polyp is a small growth that in some cases forms on the inside lining of the colon or anus. A lot of develop in older people. Polyps are non-cancerous (benign) and normally cause no problems. Nevertheless, often a polyp bleeds and sometimes a polyp can turn malignant.
Cancer of the colon and rectum prevail cancers in older individuals. They often influence younger people. Rectal bleeding is one symptom that may occur. Bleeding is often not visible and other symptoms are often present before visible bleeding occurs. For instance, weight loss, exhaustion due to blood loss (anemia), diarrhoea or constipation. Cancers of other parts of the digestive tract higher up from the colon in some cases cause blood in your stool however these are uncommon.
Angiodysplasia is a condition where you develop a number of bigger blood vessels within the inner lining of the colon. Angiodysplasia most frequently develops in the ascending (right) colon, however they can develop anywhere in the colon.
The cause is unidentified however they occur most typically in older individuals. Bleeding from an angiodysplasia is painless. The blood seen can range from bright red vigorous bleeding, to dark blood blended with faeces, to black- or plum-coloured faeces (melaena). An angiodysplasia may likewise cause non-visible blood loss.
Abnormalities of the Gut
Numerous problems of the gut or the gut wall may cause rectal bleeding in kids. Examples include:
- Volvulus – a twisting of the gut.
- Intussusception – one part of the gut is drawn into another, creating a clog.
- Meckel’s diverticulum – an extra bulge or pouch in the small intestine, present from birth (hereditary).
- Hirschsprung’s disease – a condition where a part of the lower bowel does not operate as it should. The muscles of the bowel wall are unable to squeeze along the faeces as they must do.
- Unusual blood vessel development.
Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers
An ulcer in the stomach or duodenum might bleed. This can cause melaena – where your faeces turn black- or plum-coloured as explained previously.
Some Gut Infections
These might cause bloody diarrhoea due to inflammation of the digestive tract, caused by some infections.
There are numerous other rarer causes.
What should I do If I have Rectal Bleeding?
See a doctor. If the bleeding is heavy, or if you have black- or plum-coloured stools (faeces) – called melaena , see a doctor instantly or call an ambulance. If you feel lightheaded, collapse or feel usually unwell then think about calling an ambulance, as this might indicate a heavy bleed.
However, frequently the bleeding is mild. In this circumstance, make a visit with your doctor quickly. Some people presume that their rectal bleeding is due to stacks (haemorrhoids) and do not get it took a look at. Haemorrhoids are maybe the most common cause of rectal bleeding. However, you need to not presume the bleeding is coming from a haemorrhoid unless you have been properly evaluated by a doctor.