Home Symptoms Rectal Bleeding – 10 Common Causes, Associated Symptoms & Treatment

Rectal Bleeding – 10 Common Causes, Associated Symptoms & Treatment

Rectal bleeding

The passage of bright red blood from the anus, typically combined with stool and/or blood clots, is referred to as rectal bleeding. The colon, rectum, or anus are the most common sources of rectal bleeding, which might be associated with diarrhea. The color of the blood during rectal bleeding is frequently determined by where the bleeding occurs in the gastrointestinal tract.

The blood will be a brighter red the closer the bleeding spot is to the anus. As a result, bleeding from the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon is bright red, whereas bleeding from the transverse colon and right colon is dark red.

Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcers, and colon cancer can all cause rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding is usually visible on toilet paper, in the water in the toilet bowl, or in your stool. Rectal bleeding should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible because it could indicate a dangerous medical condition.

Causes of Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding might be a mild symptom of a condition that is easily cured in some situations. It can occur as a result of hemorrhoids, for example. This normally only lasts a few days, and hemorrhoids are usually simple to treat.It can also be a sign of a dangerous illness like colorectal cancer.

It’s critical to keep track of any bleeding you might be having. Call your healthcare practitioner to have it checked out if it’s heavy, regular, or causing you concern. Common causes of rectal bleeding include:

Bleeding conditions

Some conditions can contribute to bleeding because they affect the blood’s ability to coagulate. They include vitamin K deficiency, hemophilia, and a low platelet count also called thrombocytopenia.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

This includes ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. Bleeding may occur alongside rectal pain and diarrhea.

Anal fissures

Small tears in the lining of the anus can lead to bleeding and pain when passing stools. Tears can occur because of constipation or during childbirth.

Colon cancer

As tumors form, they need blood vessels to grow. The blood vessels in the colon are fragile and can tear, causing bleeding. Only 3.4% of cases of rectal bleeding are due to colon cancer.


These are masses of tissue made up of blood vessels and muscle fibers. Internal hemorrhoids are inside the body. They don’t hurt but can cause bleeding. In some cases, they can pass through the anus.


An ulcer can form when an erosion worsens in the digestive tract. Black, tarry stools may occur if an ulcer is bleeding higher in the gut, but an ulcer further down may produce bright red blood. However, this isn’t always the case, and your doctor will need to investigate.


Intestinal infection, or infections caused by bacteria, such as salmonella, can cause bleeding.

Anal or colorectal polyps

Polyps are growths that can appear in many places throughout the body. If polyps develop in the intestine, they can bleed. Polyps aren’t cancerous, but some can become malignant in time.

Diverticular disease

Diverticula are small pouches or bulges in the colon where, over time, blood vessels can erode, rupture, and bleed. When there are no symptoms, it’s called diverticulosis, but if inflammation occurs, this is diverticulitis. Together, they’re called diverticular diseases.


Hard stool and straining to relieve constipation can lead to anal fissures and hemorrhoids, both of which can result in bleeding.

Associated Symptoms

Red blood on toilet paper, visible blood, or red-tinged stool in the toilet bowl is the most obvious signs of rectal bleeding. However, the color of your blood (and the color of your stools) is crucial to pay attention to because it might signal a variety of things.

Additional symptoms include:

When To See The Doctor

When you have rectal bleeding, it’s usually a good idea to contact your healthcare practitioner. It could be a symptom of another health problem that necessitates care. If you’re having a lot of bleeding or seeing blood in your bowel movements, you should see your doctor right once. It can be caused by a variety of dangerous conditions that must be addressed.

Treatment of Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is usually managed by addressing the underlying cause. Rectal bleeding is frequently a symptom of a more serious problem that requires treatment. The bleeding normally ceases once that issue has been addressed. Depending on the condition, treatment choices may differ. Anal fissures, for example, can heal on their own or be treated with ointments over time. Hemorrhoids are a common source of rectal bleeding that can be managed by correcting any constipation difficulties, adjusting your diet and water intake, or having surgery.

Cancer is another serious reason for rectal bleeding. If this is the case, your doctor will devise a treatment strategy to combat the cancer, which may include the removal of any tumors.


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