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Rectal Bleeding


Rectal bleeding can be caused by constipation, hemorrhoids, or anal fissures. It may also be caused by polyps, tumors, or medical conditions, such as colitis or diverticulitis.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for this medicine.
  • Vasoconstrictors: This medicine decreases the size of your blood vessels and may help stop the bleeding.
  • Iron supplement: Iron helps your body make more red blood cells.
  • Steroids: This medicine decreases inflammation in your rectum. It may be applied as a cream, ointment, or lotion.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to check for anemia (low amount of red blood cells).
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of the organs and blood vessels in your abdomen. The pictures may show problems that could cause bleeding. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • Colonoscopy: This is a procedure to look inside your lower bowel. It may show where the bleeding is coming from and what is causing it. A tube with a light on the end will be put into your anus and then moved into your colon. If your healthcare provider finds a growth, he may remove it.
  • Endoscopy: This is a procedure to look at the inside of your upper bowel. It may show where the bleeding is coming from and what is causing it. A tube with a light on the end is inserted into your throat and moved down into your stomach and upper bowel. If your healthcare provider finds a growth, he may remove it. He may put a shot of medicine in bleeding areas to narrow the blood vessels and stop the bleeding. Heat, laser, or electric currents may also be used to make the blood clot.


  • IV: You may need an IV if you are dehydrated and need extra liquids.
  • Blood transfusion: You will get whole or parts of blood through an IV during a transfusion. Blood is tested for diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, to be sure it is safe.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery to remove hemorrhoids, tumors, or polyps.


  • You may have abdominal pain or damage to nearby organs or blood vessels with surgery. Even with treatment, rectal bleeding may continue. Or, it may go away for a time and start again.
  • Without treatment, you may continue to have pain and cramping. You may develop anemia. You may need a blood transfusion. You may lose a large amount of blood. This can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Rectal Bleeding (Inpatient Care)

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