Hemorrhoids are a frequent cause of anal bleeding. But some causes, such as infections, inflammation, or colon cancer, can be far more serious and potentially even life-threatening. The treatment for this symptom can range from endoscopy to medications to surgery. A person's treatment will depend on the site of the bleeding, its cause, and how severe it is.
What Is Anal Bleeding?
Anal bleeding is a symptom of a disease rather than a disease itself. It can occur as the result of a number of different conditions, some of which are life-threatening.
The most common cause of anal bleeding is hemorrhoids. However, more serious causes can also occur. So while the cause of anal bleeding may not turn out to be serious, it is still important to locate the source of the bleeding.
It is very important to see your doctor if you have anal bleeding and:
- You are older than 50
- Have a family history of colon or rectal cancer
- The bleeding occurs between bowel movements
- The blood is dark red or maroon
- You have tar-like, black stools.
Where Does Anal Bleeding Occur?
The digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract includes the:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine (colon)
Anal bleeding can come from one or more of these areas. For example, bleeding may come from a small area, such as an ulcer on the lining of the stomach (known as a stomach ulcer or peptic ulcer), or from a large surface, such as an inflamed section of the colon.
Anal bleeding can sometimes occur without the person noticing it. This type of bleeding is called occult or hidden bleeding. Fortunately, simple tests can detect occult blood in the stool.