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Rectal Bleeding

Hemorrhoids

Your age makes it less likely that your source of bleeding is something as serious as a polyp or cancer. But you will still warrant investigation. Your bleeding should only be attributed to hemorrhoids if hemorrhoids are visible during a doctor's examination. If your doctor sees hemorrhoids beneath the surface of your rectum, then most experts would agree at your young age, you may not require further testing. If hemorrhoids are not visible as an explanation for your bleeding, you should have further evaluation to check for colon polyps.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are veins just beneath the inside surface of the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids can become overfilled and bulging, particularly when straining to push out a bowel movement repeatedly interferes with normal circulation out of these veins. A bulging hemorrhoid can develop a weak area that can allow small amounts of blood to spill into the rectum. Hemorrhoids can cause itching or can soil or moisten your underwear. Most hemorrhoids do not cause pain, but some do cause pain, particularly if a blood clot forms, creating a "thrombosed" hemorrhoid.

Your doctor will try to identify hemorrhoids during an office visit. An inspection of your anus and rectum will be necessary to confirm your diagnosis. A lubricated hollow cylinder called an "anoscope" may be used by your doctor during your examination. This hollow tube is approximately the diameter of a normal bowel movement. It can be pushed gently against your anus and inserted four or five inches into your rectum so that your doctor can view your rectum.

Colon polyps

Colon polyps are bulges of intestine tissue that dangle or protrude into the hollow of the colon. They often bleed. Polyps need to be removed because they may form cancers if they are left within the intestine. Diagnosis of polyps requires a camera inspection of the colon (either a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure)


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