Lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) often requires hospitalization, especially in older patients. Intestinal bleeding can be a chronic problem, possibly caused by iron deficiency or hematochezia (passing bloody stool). Or, intestinal bleeding can be acute – sudden and life-threatening.
Othe possible causes of rectal bleeding include:
SYMPTOMS OF RECTAL BLEEDING
Blood spots on toilet paper after a bowel movement or blood mixed in with the stool can indicate intestinal bleeding. Red or black stool can also suggest bleeding in the colon.
Other symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, and fainting can indicate more severe bleeding.
A gastroenterologist will use a colonoscopy to diagnose the reason for the bleeding. The patient does not need to be actively bleeding at the time of the colonoscopy for the doctor to find the source.
To stop the bleeding, the gastroenterologist can use the following treatment techniques during a colonoscopy:
- Clipping (use a small metal clamp to close off the bleeding vessels without needing surgery);
- Cauterizing (a probe uses electricity and heat to burn bleeding vessels);
- Sclerotherapy (injection of a chemical solution to shrink the bleeding veins).