Rectal bleeding is often due to hemorrhoids, but it can also signal a potentially serious health condition. For this reason, you should always seek help for rectal bleeding by scheduling an appointment with Marsha Harris, MD, FACS, FASCRS, at Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery in Murray Hill, Manhattan. Dr. Harris offers comprehensive and patient-focused care with treatment that’s customized to meet your needs. If you have questions about rectal bleeding, call the office in New York City, or book an appointment online today.

request an appointment

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding refers to fresh bleeding that typically occurs when you have a bowel movement. You may see bright red blood with your stool, in the toilet, or on the toilet paper. This type of bleeding usually is due to a problem in your colon or rectum.

When bleeding occurs in the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, it doesn’t appear as bright red. Instead, the blood turns dark as it goes through the digestive tract and causes black or tarry stools.

What causes rectal bleeding?

Your stools may look red after eating beets or foods with red food coloring. But rectal bleeding occurs due to conditions such as:

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulitis
  • Anal fissures
  • Anal abscess of fistula
  • Ischemic colitis
  • Proctitis
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Anorectal infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer

Cancer in your anus, rectum, and colon can cause bright red bleeding or dark blood that makes your stools tarry. These cancers don’t always bleed, however. They often produce such a small amount of blood that you can’t see it in your stool.

What other symptoms accompany rectal bleeding?

The conditions that cause rectal bleeding can lead to additional symptoms. You may experience:

  • Anal pain or pressure
  • Anal discharge
  • Change in your bowel habits
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue

Any time you experience rectal bleeding, with or without additional symptoms, you should schedule an examination at Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery.

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

Dr. Harris begins by reviewing your medical history and symptoms and performing a physical exam. The results of your exam may be enough to diagnose the cause of your bleeding.

In most cases, however, you will also need blood tests and an endoscopic procedure to examine the inside of your colon and rectum.

How is rectal bleeding treated?

Dr. Harris offers comprehensive treatments. Your treatment is tailored for your underlying condition and symptoms. There are many potential treatments, and Dr. Harris will discuss which is best with you.

You may need to make changes to your diet, or you could need treatments that target specific symptoms. In some cases, medications may take care of the problem; others require surgical intervention.

To get help for rectal bleeding, call Park Avenue Colon and Rectal Surgery or book an appointment online today.