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How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

The method of diagnosis will depend on your age and symptoms and may include all or a few of the following tests: digital rectal examination (DRE) your doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your anus to check your rectum for lumps or abnormalities. This is a very common, quick and often painless procedure. Proctoscopy - a common procedure which involves insertion of a thin, hollow lubricated instrument (proctoscope) into your rectum. The instrument is lit and allows your rectum to be examined closely. Colonoscopy - involves inserting a thin, flexible, lit tube (endoscope) into the rectum to examine your colon and lower bowels. You will be given a mild sedative to help you relax during the procedure and often will be asked not to eat for 12 hours before the test. The endoscope can take video, photos and tissues samples, providing your doctor with a highly detailed view of your intestines. Computer tomography (CT) or nuclear scans may be performed to visualize abdominal structures and/or the source of bleeding more clearly.

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About this article

Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Votes: 999 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Rectal bleeding (blood in stools)


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