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When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Rectal Bleeding?

By: Dr. Vera Denmark


Rectal bleeding, or blood in the stool, can be an alarming symptom requiring medical attention. At Denmark Digestive Health in Weston, MA, Dr. Vera Denmark, who is board-certified in gastroenterology, and her highly trained team emphasize the importance of recognizing when to seek help for this condition. Understanding the causes and knowing when to consult a professional are crucial steps in addressing potential health issues.

Common causes of rectal bleeding

Several conditions can cause rectal bleeding, ranging from minor issues to serious health concerns. Hemorrhoids and constipation are common causes and are usually not severe. Anal fissures, small tears in the skin around the anus, can also lead to bleeding and discomfort. More severe conditions include diverticulosis, where small pouches form in the colon and can bleed, and colorectal polyps or cancer, which require prompt medical evaluation. Other potential causes include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastrointestinal infections.

When to seek medical attention for rectal bleeding

While minor cases of rectal bleeding, such as those from hemorrhoids or anal fissures, can often be managed with home treatments, there are instances when medical attention is imperative. Seek help if the bleeding is heavy, lasts longer than a few days, or is accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, fainting, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. Blood in the stool that is dark or tarry may indicate bleeding from higher in the gastrointestinal tract and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider right away.

Diagnostic procedures and what to expect

At Denmark Digestive Health, Dr. Denmark and her team employ various diagnostic tools to determine the cause of rectal bleeding. These may include a physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. A colonoscopy is a standard procedure used to visualize the interior of the colon and rectum and identify any abnormalities. Depending on the findings, treatment options will be discussed, ranging from dietary changes and medications to surgical interventions if necessary.

Recognizing the signs of rectal bleeding and taking action

Rectal bleeding should never be ignored, especially when accompanied by other concerning symptoms. Understanding the potential causes, from minor issues like hemorrhoids to more serious conditions like colorectal cancer, is crucial. Recognizing when to seek medical attention for rectal bleeding can lead to timely and effective treatment, preventing further complications. Regular check-ups and open communication with healthcare providers are essential in maintaining gastrointestinal health.

Take control of your health in Weston, MA

If you experience rectal bleeding, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Vera Denmark and her team at Denmark Digestive Health in Weston, MA. With extensive experience in internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Denmark can provide comprehensive care and address concerns you may have. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can significantly impact your overall health and well-being.

*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.