Hematochezia, usually referred to as rectal bleeding, is the passing of dark red (or maroon-colored) blood out of the anus and is often mixed with blood clots and/or stools. Rectal bleeding can be moderate or even severe. A patient who experiences moderate bleeding will pass larger amounts of blood repeatedly and is seen within clots or stools. Those patients suffering with severe bleeding may see many or just one stool with a large amount of blood. Bleeding from the rectum can cause the total amount of blood in body to be too low and can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, fainting, hypotension and low blood pressure.
Many conditions and diseases may cause rectal bleeding. Some common causes include hemorrhoids, fissures, polyps and cancers, blood vessels, colitis and diverticulitis. For proper treatment of rectal bleeding, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause and the location of the bleeding. Diagnosis will rely on a patient’s history, physical exam, sigmoidoscopy, anoscopy, colonoscopy, angiograms, radionuclide scans and blood tests. The age of a patient may also be an important factor in determining the diagnosis.
Rectal bleeding can be alarming. Treatment for rectal bleeding varies depending on the amount of blood seen. If more than a trace of blood is discovered in the underwear or on the toilet tissue, it is imperative a person visits their doctor as soon as possible. Mild bleeding is often caused by hemorrhoids. Home treatment can be used to stop rectal bleeding.
Rectal Bleeding Home Treatment
- There are numerous ointments and creams that can be applied externally to help alleviate any pain or swelling caused by hemorrhoids.
- Increasing the amount of fiber in the diet helps to prevent hemorrhoids.
- Drinking plenty of water also softens the stools making them easier to pass. Hemorrhoids and rectal fissures can be caused by excessive straining during a bowel movement.
- Applying ice pack on the affected area reduces pain.
Rectal Bleeding Medical Treatment
1. Correcting the volume of low blood and anemia. Patients showing additional symptoms with rectal bleeding need to be treated quickly with blood transfusions and/or intravenous fluids to replace what has been lost. Blood transfusion or fluids given intravenously stabilizes the person.
2. Finding the cause and location of the current bleeding. A doctor will work to discover where the bleeding is actually coming from before a treatment protocol can be initiated. Colonoscopy is the most common used procedure in finding the cause and location of rectal bleeding.
3. Stopping the current bleeding and preventing further bleeding. If doctor determines the cause of bleeding is from a polyp, the polyp will be removed. A colonoscopy can also be used to aid in stopping the rectal bleeding by removing polyps and by cauterizing ulcers or bleeding vessels. Medicines that stop the bleeding may be delivered through an angiographic catheter. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair and stop rectal bleeding.