A healthcare professional examining a patient for rectal bleeding, emphasizing the importance of accurate ICD-10 coding for medical records.

Rectal Bleeding: Causes, Diagnosis, and ICD-10 Coding

Rectal bleeding, also known as hematochezia, is a concerning symptom that can arise from various underlying conditions. It is crucial to understand the potential causes, diagnostic approaches, and the corresponding ICD-10 codes associated with rectal bleeding. This article aims to shed light on these aspects, providing valuable insights for both healthcare professionals and individuals seeking information about this symptom.

Causes of Rectal Bleeding

It can be attributed to a multitude of causes, ranging from benign to more serious conditions. Common causes include:

  1. Hemorrhoids: Swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus are a common cause of rectal bleeding. This condition, known as hemorrhoids, can be exacerbated by straining during bowel movements.
  2. Anal Fissures: Small tears in the lining of the anus, often caused by passing hard stools, can result in rectal bleeding. Anal fissures are a common issue, especially in individuals with constipation.
  3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to rectal bleeding.
  4. Diverticulosis: Small pouches (diverticula) that can form in the walls of the colon may bleed, causing hematochezia. This condition is known as diverticulosis.
  5. Colorectal Polyps: Abnormal growths in the colon or rectum, known as polyps, can sometimes bleed. Although benign, most polyps have the potential to become cancerous.
  6. Colorectal Cancer: One of the more serious causes, colorectal cancer can present with rectal bleeding as an early symptom. For therapy to be effective, early diagnosis is essential.

Diagnostic Approaches

When faced with rectal bleeding, healthcare professionals employ various diagnostic tools and tests to identify the underlying cause. These may include:

  1. Physical Examination: A thorough examination, including a digital rectal exam, helps the healthcare provider assess the presence of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or other abnormalities.
  2. Colonoscopy: This procedure allows direct visualization of the entire colon and rectum. It is instrumental in identifying conditions such as colorectal polyps, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  3. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Similar to a colonoscopy but focusing on the lower part of the colon, this procedure is useful for detecting issues in the rectum and sigmoid colon.
  4. Imaging Studies: Healthcare professionals may use techniques such as CT scans or MRIs to generate detailed images of the gastrointestinal tract, helping diagnose conditions like diverticulosis.
  5. Blood Tests: Blood tests can help identify anemia, which may result from chronic bleeding. Elevated levels of certain markers may also indicate inflammation.

ICD-10 Coding for Rectal Bleeding

The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10), provides a standardized coding system for various health conditions, facilitating accurate record-keeping and billing. For rectal bleeding, the appropriate codes depend on the underlying cause. Some relevant codes include:

  1. K62.5 – Hemorrhage of Anus and Rectum: Healthcare providers use this code for non-specific rectal bleeding when they have not yet determined the cause or when dealing with a general hemorrhagic condition.
  2. K64.8 – Other Hemorrhoids: If hemorrhoids are the cause of the rectal bleeding, apply this code.
  3. K55.9 – Vascular Disorders of Intestine, Unspecified: In cases of bleeding caused by vascular issues, such as angiodysplasia, clinicians use this code.
  4. K57.30 – Diverticulosis of Large Intestine Without Perforation or Abscess Without Bleeding: When diverticulosis is the cause, this code is applied.
  5. K63.5 – Polyp of Colon: In instances where colorectal polyps are identified as the source of bleeding, this code is utilized.
  6. C18.9 – Malignant Neoplasm of Colon, Unspecified: If colorectal cancer is diagnosed as the cause of rectal bleeding, this code is used.


Rectal bleeding is a symptom that warrants prompt attention and thorough evaluation. Understanding the potential causes, diagnostic approaches, and the associated ICD-10 codes is crucial for both healthcare professionals and individuals seeking information. Timely and accurate diagnosis is key to managing rectal bleeding effectively and addressing any underlying health concerns. If you experience rectal bleeding or related symptoms, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and guidance.

Wasiur Rehman is fueled by a deep passion for advancing innovation in healthcare and medical research. He possesses a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering and has dedicated approximately two years to his role as a research analyst and SEO content writer. Currently, he is a valuable member of the DiseaseInfoHub team, serving as a content and research guide.

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