Gastrointestinal Bleeding (cont.)
Gastrointestinal Bleeding Diagnosis
A doctor will perform a complete history and physical exam to evaluate the patient's problem. The physical will include a digital rectal exam, to test for visible or microscopic blood from the rectum.
The doctor may need to perform a procedure called an endoscopy or a colonoscopy. An endoscope is a long tube with a tiny camera at the end. It is passed into the stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. A colonoscopy refers to the passage of a tube with a tiny camera through the rectum into the colon, to directly see the source of bleeding. Both procedures can be diagnostic, finding the source of bleeding; and therapeutic, stopping it.
Lab tests also can be helpful to determine the rate or severity of bleeding and to determine factors that may contribute to the problem.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2014
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