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Rectal Bleeding
May 2001

Q. I am a 37-year-old female and am a long distance runner. The last few long runs that I have done I have had rectal bleeding for a few hours after I have completed my run. The blood is bright red and I have no pain with this. What could be the cause and should I be concerned?

A. The symptom you have is termed hematochezia (bright red blood per rectum). At your age (37 years old), it is unlikely to be caused by a colon tumor, although if there were a family history of colon polyps or Cancer, I would be somewhat more concerned. One of the most common causes would be hemorrhoids, which are dilated anorectal veins, often caused by having delivered children (the patient, not the doctor!). Perhaps by running, this may be irritating the veins leading to the bleeding. Inflammation of the bowel (Colitis) could also cause bleeding, but usually there is accompanied diarrhea and abdominal pain. However, to be on the safe side, I think it would be prudent for you to see a gastroenterologist (stomach and intestinal track specialist) for consultation. He may recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy (a scope up the rectum) to make sure there are no polyps or inflammation.

Good luck.

Ref: http://www.oxford.co.nz/conditions/polyp.htm

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