Are you concerned about rectal bleeding? Although bleeding may be a sign of cancer, minor rectal bleeding is usually caused by less serious conditions. Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, shares information about rectal bleeding and explains what you should do if you notice occasional bleeding.
What causes rectal bleeding?
Minor rectal bleeding can be caused by several conditions including:
- Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids form inside and outside your anus when blood vessels become swollen. If you have hemorrhoids, it's not unusual to see a little blood on the toilet paper after a bowel movement. Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching or swelling or small bumps around the anus. Soaking your hemorrhoids in warm water and applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream can decrease pain and irritation. If home treatment doesn't help your hemorrhoids, we can offer other treatment options in either of our Houston offices, such as band ligation to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid, laser treatment or medication injected into the hemorrhoids.
- Proctitis: Bleeding due to proctitis occurs when the lining of your rectum becomes inflamed. In addition to bleeding, you may pass mucus and experience pain around your anus. You may also feel that your bowel doesn't empty completely after bowel movements. Warm water baths and over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce pain and irritation caused by proctitis. Antibiotics, anti-viral medication and drugs that reduce inflammation may also be helpful, depending on the cause of your condition. Most people don't need surgery, but it may be recommended if bleeding occurs due to damage caused by inflammatory bowel disease.
- Anal Fissures: Anal fissures develop when the lining in your anus tears. The condition may occur if you have chronic diarrhea or constipation or recently experienced childbirth. Most anal fissures heal on their own in just a few weeks. Soaking in warm water and using stool softeners to make bowel movements easier can be helpful. If the fissure doesn't heal in two or three months, you may need prescription medication or surgery.
It's not always possible to tell if rectal bleeding is caused by a minor problem or cancer. If you're suffering from rectal bleeding, put your mind at ease by scheduling a visit with our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Disease Consultants. Make an appointment by calling (713) 777-2555 for the Southwest Highway office or (713) 880-8707 for the North Loop office.