Anal/Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding may have multiple causes, and should be investigated by a physician. Some causes of rectal bleeding may be benign conditions, while others can indicate a serious condition including cancer. It is important to determine the exact cause of rectal bleeding.

Rectal bleeding can be evidenced by blood on the toilet paper after wiping, blood in or on the stool in the toilet, or in the toilet bowl. The blood may be either bright red or dark in color.

Blood that is bright red on the toilet paper indicates the cause of bleeding is closer to the anal opening or rectum. If blood is dark and mixed with stool, this means it likely originated in the colon. Painless bright red bleeding is usually caused by hemorrhoids. Painful bleeding may be an anal fissure (a cut near the anal opening).