Rectal Bleeding Symptoms, Causes, Prevention And Treatment


You may suffer rectal bleeding for a variety of causes. Rectal bleeding can be caused by anything from common, minor diseases to rare, serious conditions that require emergency medical attention.

If you experience other symptoms, this may help you determine the underlying problem of rectal bleeding. 

Causes Of Rectal Bleeding :

Rectal bleeding is frequently brought on by:

Anal fissure (a small tear in the lining of the anal canal): An anal fissure is a split or tears in the skin surrounding the anus. This is occasionally mistaken for a haemorrhoid. However, an anal fissure occurs when you have extremely difficult-to-pass stools. The additional pressure from the bowel movement tears opens the skin. As you go to the bathroom, an anal fissure may cause you to see blood and experience burning when you urinate. Anal cracks typically disappear over time on their own.

Haemorrhoids are enlarged veins in the rectum (internal haemorrhoids) or the anus that is the most frequent cause of rectal bleeding (external haemorrhoids). Haemorrhoids can develop for a variety of reasons, such as persistent constipation, straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, lifting heavy things, anal sex, and having a higher body weight (obesity). The blood you may notice on your toilet paper or in the toilet bowl is not a medical emergency and should not cause you to be overly alarmed.

There are little glands inside the anus that are intended to aid in stoma passage; an anal abscess or a fistula. Fistulas or abscesses can develop when these glands get infected. An abscess develops when the gland in the anus produces a lot of puss and becomes blocked. The abscess and the skin surrounding the anus are connected by a tiny tunnel called an anal fistula. Inflammatory bowel illness, TB, or radiation therapy are some of the disorders that might cause them.

Diverticulitis and diverticulosis are illnesses that arise when weak areas of your gut become filled with tiny pouches known as diverticula. Your bowels' walls may become penetrated by these diverticula, which can result in bleeding and infections. Infected pouches can result in symptoms like fever, stomach pain, and a rapid change in bowel habits.

IBD (inflammatory bowel disease): IBD is characterised by swelling of the small or large intestine. Crohn's disease and colitis are the two IBD subtypes. Patches of swelling in the digestive tract are a symptom of Crohn's disease. The big bowel is primarily affected by the swelling in colitis.

Ulcers: An imbalance in the volume of digestive fluids in your intestines can harm the lining of your digestive tract and result in ulcers. These have the potential to bleed, leaving you with dark, occasionally tar-like faeces.

Polyps: A large polyp may resemble a mushroom coming out of the side of your bowel. You may feel rectal bleeding if large polyps bleed. If left untreated, polyps can occasionally develop into cancer. Rectal bleeding from polyps should be investigated since it may be a symptom of colorectal cancer.

Other common causes are constipation, hard stools, anal cancer, colon cancer, angiodysplasia, Crohn’s disease, diarrhoea, ischemic colitis, proctitis, pseudomembranous colitis, solitary rectal ulcer syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. 

Risk Factors Of Rectal Bleeding 

Although no significant risk factors can be found with rectal bleeding the following might be useful: 

Anytime you experience rectal bleeding, it is generally a good idea to contact your healthcare professional. It can be a sign of another medical issue that needs attention. It is critical that you visit your provider right away if you are experiencing severe bleeding or are having blood in multiple bowel movements. Serious conditions that require medical attention might cause rectal bleeding.

Bowel cancer can sometimes be detected by rectal bleeding.

It is crucial to get it tested because this is easier to treat if it is discovered early.

Rectal Bleeding Symptoms

Depending on what is causing the bleeding, the symptoms of rectal bleeding can change. The majority of causes of rectal bleeding are treatable and not harmful. Periodic rectal bleeding could be a sign of a serious illness like colorectal cancer.

The following are the signs and symptoms of rectal bleeding:

  • Blood in your poo
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Blood on your toilet paper and red streaks on the outside of your poop 
  • Pink water in the toilet bowl
  • black, pungent poo (this can be blood mixed in poo)
  • Small, isolated bleeding episodes frequently stop on their own without the need for medical intervention.
  • Experiencing pressure or pain in the rectum.
  • Seeing bright red blood on your stool, your underwear, the toilet paper, or the toilet basin.
  • Having tar-looking stool as a stool
  • A state of mental bewilderment
  • Feeling faint or disoriented
  • Fainting.

Rectal bleeding may, in some very serious circumstances, result in shock. If you see any shock-related symptoms, call a doctor straight away to obtain assistance.

Rectal Bleeding Prevention

Some foods have the ability to change the colour of your excrement. A stool in green, yellow, or even black is an option. This can occur for a number of reasons, including consuming foods with intense colour pigments or having a condition like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease that produces too much bile during digestion.

Your feces will frequently appear to be very dark and practically black due to blood. Your excrement can appear unusually dark if you consume foods like red gelatin, black liquorice, beets, dark berries (blueberries and blackberries), and beets. This might be mistaken for blood in your feces with ease. Consider your recent diet if you experience really dark poop during a bowel movement. It is possible that what you consumed could have been caused by what you ate.

When you strain too hard while having a bowel movement, rectal bleeding may occur. Constipation and this are frequently connected. Haemorrhoids and anal fissures are two conditions that can result from straining. The skin around your anus can actually break from a very forceful bowel movement, allowing you to see blood. Constipation treatment can help stop this from happening.

Treatment Of Rectal Bleeding 

Rectal bleeding is typically treatable by addressing the underlying source of the bleeding. Rectal bleeding frequently signals a more serious problem that has to be addressed. Usually, after the condition has been treated, the bleeding stops. 

Depending on the disease, there are different treatment choices

Anal fissures are a condition that can either go away on its own with time or be treated with ointments or a doctor may advise antibiotics. 

Another typical reason for rectal bleeding is haemorrhoids, which can be managed by addressing any constipation issues, altering your food and water consumption, or even having surgery. The use of rubber bands, laser therapy, and surgical removal are among the examples.

Cancer may be a more serious factor in rectal bleeding. If this is the case, your doctor will create a treatment strategy to combat the malignancy such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

If a polyp is large, and there are many, then it shows signs of developing malignancy, and it may be necessary to seek medical attention. During a colonoscopy, a doctor can remove polyps.

Complications of Rectal Bleeding 

It is important to obtain urgent medical attention if someone experiences any one or more of the following: 

  • You have bloody diarrhoea for no apparent reason
  • Your poop is black or dark red
  • If you are constantly bleeding
  • There is a lot of blood present, as seen by the toilet water turning red or the presence of huge blood clots.
  • If rectal bleeding is constant or substantial or accompanied by excruciating cramps or similar 


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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

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