Lower GI Bleeding
Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract can be cause by a variety of conditions. This symptom is considered quite serious and should be addressed immediately by a specialized physician, if detected.
If the bleeding is linked to the lower intestine, it will typically be caused by one of the following medical conditions:
- Anal Fissures – Tear in the lining of the anus.
- Colon polyps – These small tissue formations form within the lining of the colon and can cause bleeding if torn.
- Diverticulosis– Instead of protruding outward into the colon like a polyp, these are pouches that form within the lower digestive tract.
- Diverticulitis– When the pouches caused by diverticulosis become inflamed, they are categorized as diverticulitis.
- Hemorrhoids – Swollen veins located at the end of the rectum or on the anus.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – General inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Proctitis – This condition causes swelling within the lining of the rectum, which can lead to lower intestinal bleeding.
- Tumors – This may or may not be cancerous.
Our physicians will require additional testing or endoscopic procedures to obtain an official diagnosis of internal bleeding that presents itself in a person’s stool. We also need to diagnose the source of the lower intestinal bleeding.
Individuals should seek treatment if they notice blood in their stool. Seeking emergency care is imperative if any signs of shock are present, e.g., sudden drop in blood pressure, feeling faint or passing out, quickened pulse.
More than 80% of lower GI bleeding events resolve on their own. But severe, persistent, or recurring bleeding can become serious. Treatment depends on the cause of the bleeding or if bleeding is caused by a medication, for example those which reduce the formation of blood clots. Diverticular disease is estimated to be responsible for about 40% of lower GI bleeds. To treat diverticular bleedings, we find the site of the bleeding using a colonoscopy, angiogram, or CT scan. If the bleeding cannot be stopped, a surgical solution such as a colon resection may be needed. For people who experience bleeding due to chronic health conditions, long-term dietary and lifestyle changes may be necessary to reduce irritation and inflammation.