Rectal bleeding is common but never normal and should always be evaluated by a physician to determine the specific underlying cause. Rectal bleeding may be noticed as blood in the stool, on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. It may be minor or severe and can vary in color from bright red to a dark maroon.
A wide range of conditions can be responsible rectal bleeding. The most common are:
Every patient evaluation begins with a comprehensive consultation, including a complete history, and physical examination. Additional diagnostic testing, including blood and stool testing and imaging with endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy is often used, as well. Endoscopic evaluation allows not only for diagnosis but often the treatment of bleeding.
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