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Rectal Problems - Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Is your main problem rectal pain, itching, or bleeding?
  • Are your symptoms:
    • Present all the time, or do they come and go?
    • Present only with bowel movements?
    • Steady?
    • Getting worse?
  • How long have you had this problem? Did it come on suddenly or gradually?
  • Have you ever been treated for a similar problem? If so, what was the treatment? Did it help?
  • What home treatments have you tried for your current problem? Have they helped?
  • Have you had leaking of mucus or stool from your rectum?
  • Have you noticed a change in the color, consistency, size, or frequency of your stool?
  • Do you have a history of hemorrhoids or rectal disease?
  • Do you have a family history of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or Crohn's disease?
  • If you have had a full-term pregnancy, did you have a vaginal delivery?
  • Have you ever had radiation therapy to your pelvic area?
  • Did your symptoms begin after an injury, insertion of a foreign body, anal intercourse, or a bowel movement?
  • Do you think that your problem may be related to sexual activity?
  • Do you engage in high-risk sexual behavior, such as having unprotected sex or multiple sex partners?
  • Have you ever been treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
  • Do you have other symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained weight loss, fever, or pain elsewhere in your body?
  • Have you recently traveled to a foreign country?
  • What prescription and nonprescription medicines do you take?
  • Do you have any health risks?

For rectal itching

  • Is there itching or a rash present on any other part of your body?
  • Are other members of your family also experiencing rectal itching?

For rectal pain

  • How severe is your pain? Is it constant, or does it come and go? Is it getting worse? Is it related only to having a bowel movement?
  • Does the pain feel like it is coming from the inside or the outside of your anus?

For rectal bleeding

  • What does the blood in your stools look like? Is the stool mixed with blood, or does the blood coat the outside of formed stools? Are there large clots of blood in the toilet water?
  • Do you have bleeding from your gums, blood in your urine, large skin bruises, or a skin rash that looks like measles?
  • Is your rectal bleeding painful?
  • Is the blood bright red or dark purple?
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 20, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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