Rectal bleeding: Should I be worried?

Autore: Dr Evangelos Russo
Pubblicato: | Aggiornato: 21/02/2020
Editor: Cameron Gibson-Watt

Rectal bleeding refers to the passage of blood from the anus which is often mixed with stool, and it is a common symptom. It is estimated that up to 10% of the population will have an episode of rectal bleeding each year. Dr Evangelos Russo is a skilled gastroenterologist based in London and offers us his advice on what to do if you notice blood in your stool.


Women in front of computer looking worried



What causes bright red rectal bleeding?

Most commonly, rectal bleeding is caused by anal pathology such as fissures and piles. Other causes that need to be ruled out include inflammation of the lining of the bowel, benign or malignant tumours, diverticular disease and infections, which can often be sexually transmitted.


Is rectal bleeding related to IBS?

Rectal bleeding cannot be attributed directly to IBS, and a different cause needs to be looked for. Indirectly, especially in relation to the constipating subtype of IBS (IBS-C), rectal bleeding can be associated with excessive straining in the toilet.


Can stress cause rectal bleeding?

While stress can contribute in a variety of stomach symptoms e.g. indigestion, a variable bowel habit and abdominal bloating and cramping, it does not typically cause rectal bleeding.


Even in patients known to have IBS, an alternative cause needs to be ruled out before rectal bleeding can be attributed to stress.


Is rectal bleeding a sign of cancer?

tumour of the colon is a significant cause of rectal bleeding. However, even in the higher risk age group of 50 years old and above, the likelihood of rectal bleeding being caused by a cancer is just under 10%. Therefore, while it’s important to rule out cancer in patients with rectal bleeding, other causes mentioned above are more commonly responsible for this symptom.


How can I stop blood in my stool?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Fissures and haemorrhoids can commonly be treated with topical therapy, and in cases where this is not successful, our colorectal surgical colleagues have an array of surgical options for these. Benign colonic polyps can typically be removed by colonoscopy. Malignant neoplasms of the bowel require individualised specialist treatment which depends on the location, size and extent of these lesions. Bleeding from diverticular disease usually settles spontaneously, but occasionally can be quite brisk, requiring a period of observation in hospital until it settles.


What should I do when I notice blood in my stool?

Rectal bleeding should be reported to a GP or specialist doctor. Often, the history and examination suggests a very low risk problem, and watchful waiting or topical therapy is all that is required.


On occasions the doctor may suggest ruling out inflammation, a polyp or cancer in the bowel, in which case an endoscopic examination with a small flexible camera called an endoscope may be suggested.


If you need to see a doctor about blood in your stool, visit Dr Evangelos Russo’s profile and make an appointment with him.

*Tradotto con Google Translator. Preghiamo ci scusi per ogni imperfezione
Dr Evangelos Russo

Dr Evangelos Russo

Dr Evangelos Russo è un abile gastroenterologo con sede a Londra . È specializzato in endoscopia diagnostica e terapeutica, colonscopia e polipectomia ed è un esperto nel trattamento della malattia infiammatoria intestinale (IBD), della diarrea cronica e del reflusso acido, tra le altre condizioni.

Il dott. Russo ha ottenuto la laurea all'University College di Londra nel 2003. Ha completato la formazione sulla rotazione del North West Thames, mentre ha conseguito un dottorato in medicina traslazionale dall'Imperial College di Londra per la sua ricerca sulle tecniche di imaging nella diagnosi e nel trattamento della malattia di Crohn.

Con la sua nomina a consulente gastroenterologo presso l'Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, si è affermato come membro principale del team multidisciplinare che cura il cancro gastrointestinale (GI) inferiore. È stato coinvolto in modo estensivo nella ricerca su IBD e il suo lavoro è stato ampiamente pubblicato. È anche docente onorario all'Imperial College di Londra.

*Tradotto con Google Translator. Preghiamo ci scusi per ogni imperfezione

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