Minor rectal bleeding is one of the common symptoms that the Minnesotans seek for the medical attention in the primary care clinics. It refers to the passage of small amount of bright red and fresh blood from the rectum, which may appear on the surface of stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
This blog mainly discusses on the conditions with minor rectal bleeding that occurs intermittently. Rectal bleeding can be caused by various medical conditions, but even the slightest amount of bleeding should be taken seriously. The common causes of minor rectal bleeding are internal hemorrhoids, local tissue trauma, ruptured thrombosed external hemorrhoids, fissures, fistula, diverticulosis, colon cancer, colitis, and polyps. The patients of older age than 40 or with significant family history of bowel disease or cancer should consider further examination. In addition, patients who were previously treated for rectal bleeding but continued to experience bleeding must be further examined.
The source of minor rectal bleeding is determined by history, physical examination and endoscopies. In the initial office visit, your doctor may inspect the anus visually to look for anal warts, anal polps, anal fissures or fistula openings, cancer or external hemorrhoids, and followed by the digital examination with a gloved, lubricated finger and then anoscopy to look for abnormalities and sources of bleeding in the lower rectum and anal canal. If indicated, your doctor may also perform endoscopies, either sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Anoscopy is a rectal exam with a very short (3 to 4 inch) rigid metal tube to examine the lower rectum and anal canal, it is very useful when your doctor suspects hemorrhoids, anal fissures and other anorectal diseases.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is to uses a short (24 inches) and flexible tube with a camera to examine the lower colon and rectum.
Colonoscopy is a test that examines the lining of the entire colon for abnormal growths, such as polyps or cancer. A long tube is passed into your bowel, and a light on the end allows the examiner to see the inside of the bowel. If anything abnormal is found, a small biopsy will be done, and polyps or growths can be removed.
The management of minor rectal bleeding mainly focuses on the treatments of the underlying diseases.