Anal bleeding is an indication or a symptom of another disease. It is not a disease by itself; it occurs due to numerous different conditions. Some of the diseases that are indicated by analbleeding may be life threatening.
Anal bleeding is most often caused by hemorrhoids. Other causes of anal bleeding are:
- Anal fissures
- Inflammation such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Colon polyps
- Colon Cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Upper gastrointestinal or small bowel lesion when there is heavy bleeding
- Blood thinning medications (Warfarin)
Symptoms of Anal Bleeding
The symptoms of anal bleeding are:
- Bright red blood in stools
- Dark blood in stools
- Black or tar-like stool
Some symptoms may determine whether the bleeding is acute or chronic.
Acute anal bleeding symptoms are:
Any of the above symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal or stomach pain
Symptoms of chronic anal bleeding are:
Any of the general symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling sluggish
Where Anal Bleeding Occurs
Anal bleeding can come from any of the following areas of the gastrointestinal tract:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine (colon)
Sometimes analbleeding goes unnoticed. This type of anal bleeding is known as occult or hidden bleeding. In this case, the bleeding is detected through tests.
How Anal Bleeding is Diagnosed?
- The site of the bleeding must be located.
- A complete history and physical examination must be done.
- Changes in bowel movements, the color of stools and any pain or tenderness must be checked.
- The patient’s diet must also be analyzed because iron-rich foods and foods like beets can give the stool the same color as stool which indicates bleeding from the digestive tract.
- A blood count can be done to detect anemia which helps to determine the extent of the bleeding and how chronic it might be.
- Endoscopy-this is a technique which allows viewing to detect the site of the bleeding. It is done by using an instrument called an endoscope. The endoscope is a small, flexible instrument that is inserted through the mouth or the rectum. It allows the doctor to see the esophagus, stomach, duodenum and rectum. It enables the collection of samples of tissue, photographs and to stop the bleeding.
- Capsule endoscope- this is a capsule containing a tiny camera that is swallowed by the patient. The camera captures images and transmits them to a monitor to a monitor when swallowed by the patient. This is mostly used in areas that are hard to reach like the small intestine.
- You should see your doctor to check for anal bleeding if:
- You are 50 or older.
- Your family has a history of colon or rectal cancer.
- Bleeding is noticed between bowel movements.
- Blood is dark red (maroon).
- Stools are tar-like or black.