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What Is Rectal Bleeding?

Blood in your stool may result from bleeding anywhere along the GI tract – from mouth to anus.

Blood in the stool may cause the stool to appear sticky or black, often assuming a tar-like appearance. This is the case if the bleeding arises from the upper organs of the GI tract, like the stomach and esophagus. Other times, bleeding may cause a maroon or burgundy colored stool, or most commonly, you may notice bright red blood in the bowl, or on the tissue when cleaning yourself after a bowel movement. Bright red blood most commonly arises from the colon, rectum and anus.

Is rectal bleeding important?

Bleeding from the rectal area should always be evaluated by a gastroenterologist for an accurate diagnosis and blood in the stool treatment plan, since it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition

What causes blood in the stool?

The wall of the gastrointestinal tract contains a rich supply of small blood vessels that nourish the organs and transport nutrients. Bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract occurs with the breach of the integrity of one of these vessels.

Rectal bleeding can arise from numerous causes, including:

  • Long-term constipation
  • Ulcerations of the GI tract
  • Inflammation of the GI tract, as with Crohn’s Disease or colitis
  • Anal tears (fissures)
  • Haemorrhoidal tears
  • Diverticulosis of the colon
  • Aberrant blood vessels in the wall of the bowel
  • Cancers and benign tumours of the GI tract
  • Solitary Rectal Ulcers(SRUS)
  • Radiation Therapy

How do we diagnose the cause of blood in the stool?

Pooping blood or finding bright red blood in the stool is never normal. Our doctors have several options for identifying the source of the problem during your examination. They may:


  • Feel for abnormalities within your rectum with a gloved, lubricated finger


  • Examine your anus visually and using an proctoscope during the physical exam


  • Perform a colonoscopy for direct visualization of your colon, which is the gold standard for evaluation


Diagnosis begins with a review of your symptoms, evaluation of your personal and family medical histories, and a physical exam. We will often do blood and stool tests, and then typically need to examine inside your upper or lower digestive tracts – or both – typically by endoscopy and colonoscopy. In some instances, we will proceed to further imaging, such as small bowel capsule endoscopy or CT scan. In most cases, we are able to discern the origin/site of bleeding immediately, but in others, we must perform extensive testing and do repeated exams.

How do we treat GI tract bleeding?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of bleeding, as well as the severity of the bleeding. In some cases, bleeding we managed with medication, such as medicines used to treat an ulcer or topical ointments to treat hemorrhoids. In other cases, we obliterate the “culprit” blood vessel with cautery or a clip during an endoscopic procedure. We will sometimes engage the help of a colorectal surgeon, who possesses special expertise with bleeding hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or medically and endoscopically uncontrollable bleeding.

Important Reminder:

The information provided above is meant to be used as an informative guide for patients. For precise and individualized recommendations, please consult with one of our board certified gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms.

For additional information or to book an appointment at the Aayushman clinic Gastroenterology Center, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team by calling us at 8860291508. You can also schedule online or reach out to us via the Contact Us form.