Causes of Rectal Bleeding
There are several health conditions that can cause rectal bleeding, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, polyps, or cancer. As a result, the manner and severity in which the bleeding appears can vary. Sometimes, the blood is bright red; other times, it is darker in color. While rectal bleeding is rarely life-threatening, in some cases it is quite serious. Therefore, rectal bleeding should always be reported to your doctor.
The most common cause of rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. However, more serious causes of rectal bleeding can occur. So while the causes may or may not turn out to be serious, it is still important to locate the source of the bleeding.
It is important that you see your healthcare provider if you have rectal bleeding and:
- You are older than 50
- Have a family history of colon or rectal cancer
- Bleeding occurs between bowel movements
- The blood is dark red or maroon
- You have tar-like, black stools.
The digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract includes the:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine (colon)
Rectal 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, or from a large surface, such as an inflammation of the colon.
Rectal 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.