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Rectal Bleeding

Sam Weissman, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY

Rectal bleeding occurs for various reasons, but if your symptoms last for more than a day or two, don’t wait to seek professional help. At his practice in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, board-certified gastroenterologist Sam Weissman, MD, offers comprehensive care for rectal bleeding. To make an appointment at the practice in New York City, call the office today, or schedule online.

Rectal Bleeding Q & A

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is a common symptom of many different medical conditions, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and inflammatory bowel disease. You might notice rectal bleeding while wiping, in the water of the toilet bowl, or within your stool itself. 

Often, the color of your blood can point to the underlying issue. For example, bright red blood typically means there’s bleeding in your colon or rectum, while blood that’s dark or almost black indicates bleeding in the stomach or an ulcer.

What are the symptoms of rectal bleeding?

Common symptoms of rectal bleeding include:

  • Rectal pain or pressure
  • Seeing blood in your stool, underwear, or in the toilet bowl
  • Having a stool that’s red, maroon, or black
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Fainting

In severe instances, rectal bleeding can lead to shock. Symptoms of shock include a loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, or the inability to urinate.

Is rectal bleeding serious?

Rectal bleeding isn’t always a serious concern. Sometimes, it’s due to a minor issue like hemorrhoids. Most hemorrhoids respond to conservative treatments and resolve on their own.

Other times, rectal bleeding indicates a potentially serious condition like colon cancer. If you experience rectal bleeding on a regular basis and it causes you to worry, make an appointment with Dr. Weissman right away.

How will my stool look if I have rectal bleeding?

If you have rectal bleeding, your stool will look one of two ways –– relatively normal with bright red streaks or much darker than usual and black or tar-like. Before you panic, think about the foods and beverages you’ve recently consumed. Some foods, like beets, can make your stool red, pink, or black. 

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

To diagnose rectal bleeding, Dr. Weissman conducts a physical exam and asks about your symptoms, including when they started, how frequently you have a bowel movement, and if you experience pain alongside the bleeding.

If these measures don’t provide enough insight into your condition, Dr. Weissman might order additional tests like a colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy, or a fecal occult blood test. These measures can pinpoint the underlying cause of your rectal bleeding and help Dr. Weissman develop a treatment plan.

How is rectal bleeding treated?

Treatment of rectal bleeding depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. Dr. Weissman might recommend:

  • Rest
  • Dietary changes
  • Antibiotic ointments (for anal fissures)
  • Increased fluid intake
  • Regular exercise

If your rectal bleeding is due to cancer or another more serious health problem, surgical intervention may be necessary.

To explore your treatment options for rectal bleeding, make an appointment at the practice of Sam Weissman, MD, by calling the office today or scheduling online.