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Causes of Rectal Bleeding in Elderly Women

By Edited Feb 26, 2016 0 0

There are several causes of rectal bleeding in elderly women that people should definitely be aware of.  Bleeding is positively an alarming sign of an underlying problem with the body. Once you detect any kind of bleeding, you should seek appropriate medical attention immediately.  You need to identify the underlying cause of the bleeding so that you will be able to determine the most effective treatment method in order to prevent future episodes of bleeding from occurring and minimize the side effects and complications.


One of the most common causes of rectal bleeding in elderly women is infection, primarily that which affects the intestines. Infections can definitely affect the mucosa of the intestines and eventually cause bleeding due to the damage caused by the specific virus or bacteria responsible. The bleeding and infection can be effectively treated by appropriate medications like antibiotics and antiviral drugs that will be prescribed by the physician.

Food Poisoning

Another one of the possible cause of bleeding in elderly women is food poisoning.  Together with bleeding, several other symptoms can also  appear such as severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.  Food poisoning happens when you eat food products and beverages that are contaminated with bacteria, viruses and other toxic substances. Some of the most common causes of food poisoning are bacteria such as E.coli and Staphylococcus.

Parasitic Infestation

Most people may not be aware that another possible cause of rectal bleeding in elderly women is parasitic infestation involving tapeworms. The cause of this specific type of parasitic infestation is the intake of undercooked food products.


Another cause of rectal bleeding in elderly women is endometriosis. Endometriosis is defined as a gynecological problem in which the cells in the uterus grow into other parts of the body. The unwanted growth of uterine cells in other parts of the body can cause disturbing symptoms like pain and irregular bleeding. The growth of uterine cells can develop in the large intestine and can eventually affect the rectum, thus causing bleeding.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis can also be considered as one cause of rectal bleeding in elderly women.  Ulcerative Colitis is a type of IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease which primarily affects the large intestine. This medical condition is characterized by the development of ulcers and open sores. One of the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis is irregularity in normal bowel movement, specifically diarrhea together with bleeding. Ulcerative Colitis is known to affect the inner part or lining of the rectum where several ulcers and open sores cause bleeding of the tissues in the said area.


Diverticulosis can also be considered as one of the causes of rectal bleeding in elderly women.  Diverticulosis or diverticular disease is a colon problem wherein diverticula or outpunching of the mucosa develop on the intestinal wall. This is brought about by increased pressure in the colon, which pushes some parts of the mucosa and submucosa out of the intestinal wall, which causes  the development of pouches or pockets. This condition usually becomes more evident as a person ages.

Some of the most common symptoms of diverticulosis are painful cramps in the areas where diverticula are present. These diverticula can also cause bleeding in the affected area and even in the rectum. There are several factors which are known to predispose a person to develop diverticulosis.

First of all, old age can be considered as one factor because at this point, the muscles lining the intestinal wall may  already be weak and prone to the development of diverticula. Aside from this, constipation and a low fiber diet can also cause this condition. It has also been found that genetic history can be associated with this medical condition. Diverticulosis can lead to serious health problems if it is not treated immediately.  That is why once you notice or experience any of these symptoms, you should definitely consult your physician.


Another possible cause of rectal bleeding in elderly women is the development of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally and are described to be swollen veins  found in the anal region. These are known as the usual causes of rectal bleeding in obese persons, pregnant women and most especially in the elderly.  Most of the cases of bleeding caused by hemorrhoids are described to be mild; however, some may truly be severe.

Regardless of the severity, you should seek proper medical attention immediately.  There are several ways to manage this condition. You can choose to make necessary diet modifications by increasing your fiber and fluid intake to prevent too much pressure during bowel movement. Certain drugs like NSAIDs can also help you as well and a sitz bath can help in reducing the size of the hemorrhoids. If the condition is severe enough, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure known as hemorrhoidectomy.


The most dangerous cause of rectal bleeding in elderly women is cancer. The specific types of cancers that can cause such disturbing symptoms are colon cancer, anal cancer and rectal cancer. Together with bleeding, other symptoms like abdominal pain and cramping and irregularities in bowel movement can also be present.

Cancer as a cause of rectal bleeding can be very dangerous, so you should monitor your colon properly and take the necessary tests to rule out the existence of any kind of intestinal cancers.  Aside from this, polyps which are known to be benign can also be causes of rectal bleeding in elderly women. When the polyp develops into a larger size, it can end up causing too much pressure on the rectal area, which damages the tissues and blood vessels which can lead to bleeding.


These are some of the most common causes of rectal bleeding in elderly women that you should know about. If you experience any rectal bleeding or know anyone who is you should consult and doctor so that the doctor can take a history from you and the necessary investigations to find out what the cause of the bleeding is. It is important to not ignore symptoms of rectal bleeding especially in the elderly population.



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