Rectal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms patients have when they come to visit our office. Most patients believe that their only problem is hemorrhoids, and in many instances they, in fact, are correct. However, there are many causes of rectal bleeding, and in our practice it is important not to overlook more serious causes. Any rectal bleeding is not normal and should be evaluated. The following is a list of frequent, but not necessarily all causes of rectal bleeding:
comes to our office we first take a history and then perform a physical
exam to see if we can easily determine the source of the bleeding. While
the source of the bleeding may be obvious, it is important to make sure
that there is no other cause for the bleeding. In a patient in their 20's
or early 30's with no other symptoms we would consider a flexible fiberoptic
sigmoidoscopy (see Having a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy for additional information)
which will allow us to see the lower third of the colon and entire rectum.
For those patients of any age with additional symptoms outside of bright
red blood at bowel movement, patients greater than 50, or any patient
with a first degree relative with colon or rectal cancer of polyps, we
may recommend a colonoscopy to evaluate the entire colon (see Having a
Colonoscopy for additional information). For those patients 35-49 years
of age a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may be recommended depending upon
your symptoms and exam.