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Rectal Bleeding (cont.)

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding is a symptom of a problem in the GI tract. The definition is broad as it means any blood passed rectally; consequently, the blood may come from any area or structure in the GI tract that allows blood to leak into the GI lumen (area where food and fluid is processed for absorption or removal as waste). For example, a bleeding ulcer in the stomach can have the blood excreted in the person's fecal material Rectal bleeding may be due to problems on the rectum itself or from many other problems that occur elsewhere in the GI tract. Perirectal bleeding is bleeding in an area adjacent to the rectum and may be due to abscesses or fistulas.

Rectal Bleeding Causes

There are a variety of causes of rectal bleeding. Common causes include hemorrhoids, anal fissure, diverticulosis, infection, inflammation (IBD or irritable bowel disease, Crohn's disease, colitis), blood vessel problems (angiodysplasia). Other causes of rectal bleeding include polyps, tumors, trauma, an upper gastrointestinal source like stomach ulcers, and Meckel diverticulum (rare). Some of the details of the major causes of rectal bleeding are provided in this information.

Picture of the colon anatomy and areas where rectal bleeding arises
Picture of the colon anatomy and areas where rectal bleeding arises
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2015

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