Patients complaining of rectal bleeding consider

Blood spotting after anal sex and/or blood spotting on the toilet paper is a common compliant in the GU clinic, and is usually the symptom of minor conditions such as haemorrhoids, anal fissures, genital trauma, or genital warts -which can be associated with pruritus (Rhodes & Hsin, 1995).

Blood separate from faeces is most commonly due to haemorrhoids, but may also be due to a variety of other causes, including rectal carcinoma and proctitis, which can be associated with a mucous discharge. Is the blood fresh - bright red, or old - darkish brown: this can help indicate where the bleeding is from. When does the patient notice it? A proctoscopy should be carried out, but it may be that further investigation may be needed outside of our realm of care, in which case refer appropriately. Blood mixed with faeces may be due to Crohn's disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, carcinoma or vascular abnormalities, and the patient should be referred for careful investigation via a gastroenterologist (Rhodes & Hsin, 1995).

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