Diverticular bleeding is one of the common causes for lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage for adult patients. This condition results to large amounts of blood appearing together with the fecal matter. Some patients may experience it for a while though symptoms would disappear. Bleeding can be harmless and painless for other patients although it can be life threatening especially for older patients. The risk increases for patients diagnosed with other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, COPD, coronary artery disease, hypertension and chronic renal insufficiency.
The diverticula or pouches often develop in the intestinal wall of the large intestine where the vasa recta penetrates the muscle layer and drapes over the sac. This leads to the possibility of the sac tearing or perforation to occur. Diverticular bleeding on the other hand occurs on the thinned side of the colon usually in the right section of the intestinal wall.
Often when a patient experiences blood in their stool, it is painless; however, some may also experience mild cramps in the abdomen and have the urge to defecate. The color of the stool ranges from bright red to dark maroon and often includes clots. If the bleeding stops, the patient’s blood pressure and pulse would usually goes back to normal or become stable. Patients where the bleeding is severe may experience increase in their blood pressure. Blood loss would also result in dizziness and severe blood loss to altered state of consciousness of the patient, dry skin and poor skin tugor.
To determine the location of the bleeding, the surgeon will have to perform colonoscopy. The procedure allows the surgeon to have a direct visualization of the area where the bleeding occurred allowing him/her to provide immediate treatment on the patient.
Another option for patients should the colonoscopy fail to determine the bleeding area is to undergo a nuclear medicine technetium red blood cell scan. In this procedure, the patient’s tagged red blood cells are injected back to the body allowing the technician to observe the site within the patient’s body.
Last of the diagnostic tools used is arteriography where contrast dyes are injected into the patient’s arteries. The dyes can easily be seen in x-ray scans and show the ascending and descending of blood in the colon area. The diagnostic tool is only used when the first two fail as the dyes may cause allergic reactions in some patients as well as renal failure or bleeding.
Medical Disclaimer: The medical information provided is for information purposes only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.