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Bleeding From Rectal Area

There are a number of reasons why bleeding from the rectal area occurs. Although this will obviously cause concern, it is most often not life threatening, unless there are copious amounts of blood. If so, it is recommended that you visit the Emergency Room.

Causes of Rectal Bleeding

There are two main causes of rectal bleeding: anal fissures and hemorrhoids, both which can be caused by constipation.

• Anal fissures are tiny tears in the skin of the anus that are normally caused by hard bowel movements. The bowel movement can become hard if they remain in the intestines for a long time, as is the case of constipation.
• Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anal areas either internal or external.

Some other less common causes are diverticulas, infection, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and cancer.

• A diverticula is a fingerlike pouch that forms within the walls of the colon due to weakness in the walls. It most often occurs in middle-aged or older adults.
• Bacteria can cause an infection that leads to bloody diarrhea for one to three days.
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a condition where the intestinal lining becomes irritated and inflamed leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea and mucous and blood in bowel movement.
• Cancer in the rectum or colon can also cause rectal bleeding. Normally though, the blood is not visible.

There are certain foods that can make stool appear to have blood in it. These include red licorice, Red soda, Koolaid, Jello, beets, iron and Pepto Bismol.


Rectal bleeding is any bright red blood on or in a bowel movement, on the toilet paper after wiping or in the toilet water. It is a common problem that can affect people of all ages. Pain can be associated with bowel movements. Fever can be associated with a diverticula and bacterial infection. Cancer can be associated with diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, weight loss, loss of appetite or tiredness.


Your doctor will first ask you about your medical history and symptoms. You will probably also have a rectal exam performed. A colonoscopy and blood tests can also be necessary.

Treatment of Bleeding from the Rectal Area

Treatment depends on what is causing the bleeding. If the bleeding is caused by fissures or hemorrhoids and constipation, it may simply consist of increasing fiber in your diet or more complicated with lifestyle changes.


The best thing you can do for intestinal problems is eat a healthy diet and exercise. Make sure that your diet has plenty of fiber. Foods that are full of fiber include whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also make sure to drink plenty of fluids.

No matter what the cause, if a person is experiencing bleeding from the rectal area, they should consult their physician to make sure that there is not a serious or life-threatening cause and to get the proper treatment.

References: Schwab, Joel. Chicago University. Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Available at .

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