Gil I. Ascunce, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Midtown, New York, NY
Rectal bleeding can be an alarming sign that something is not right with your digestive tract, but there are many benign causes of rectal bleeding that are not dangerous. While noticing blood in your stool or on toilet paper is often frightening, the most common causes of rectal bleeding are relatively benign and can be treated with little incident. However, there’s still a risk it could be a sign of a serious condition. If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, schedule an appointment with board-certified gastroenterologist Gil I. Ascunce, MD, at his New York City office in Manhattan on Madison Avenue. For expert diagnosis and treatment, call or schedule an appointment online today.
Rectal Bleeding Q & A
What is rectal bleeding?
Any time blood exits the anus, it is considered rectal bleeding. However, the term usually implies that the colon, and specifically the last few inches of the colon, the rectum, are the source of the bleeding.
You may notice rectal bleeding because of blood mixed with stool, blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. The blood will usually be bright red, but can also appear dark and tarry or maroon colored.
What causes rectal bleeding?
Anal fissures and hemorrhoids are the two most common sources of rectal bleeding. Anal fissures are small tears in the anus, and can have a variety of causes. Hemorrhoids are inflamed blood vessels near the anus, which can be uncomfortable or painful. While neither is usually dangerous, many people prefer to seek treatment because of the unpleasant symptoms they cause.
Less frequently, rectal bleeding can also be a symptom of:
- Anal cancer
- Angiodysplasia, a condition that affects blood vessels near the intestines
- Colon cancer or polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Diverticulosis or diverticulitis
- Ischemic colitis
- Pseudomembranous colitis
- Side effects of radiation therapy
- Rectal cancer
- Ulcers of the rectum
- Ulcerative colitis
These are much less common conditions, but they’re also more serious and dangerous, so rectal bleeding should not be ignored.
When should I see a doctor about rectal bleeding?
Any time you experience rectal bleeding, you should see Dr. Ascunce for an exam. While most bleeding is caused by relatively benign conditions like hemorrhoids, there’s still a risk that it could be a symptom of a serious inflammatory disease or cancer, so an exam helps these potential causes out. If your bleeding is simply caused by hemorrhoids or anal fissures, Dr. Ascunce provides treatment to manage and relieve your symptoms as well.
Sometimes your bleeding may be accompanied by symptoms like:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy or pale skin
If you experience any of these in conjunction with rectal bleeding, seek emergency medical attention.
To make an appointment if you are suffering from rectal bleeding, call the office of Gil I. Ascunce, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.