The Six Common Causes Of Rectal Bleeding And Their Symptoms

September 20, 2022
The Six Common Causes Of Rectal Bleeding And Their Symptoms

Bleeding is a common injury that may happen outside of our body. It often is a sign that there is a break in our skin. However, it also happens within our bodies. Bleeding that occurs within our body is a sign of a ruptured blood vessel or organ. 

Passing out blood through our rectum can be a result of blood loss in the digestive system, from the oesophagus to the rectum. The general understanding is that the higher up the digestive system the bleeding is found, the darker the blood will be. This is because as the blood travels through the digestive system, it is metabolised by gut bacteria. In this article, we will focus on the fresh bleeding from the rectum, which is identified as bright red, which is more common when bleeding occurs in the rectum.

What does rectal bleeding look like?

Rectal bleeding is often one of the scariest occurrences that patients visit the doctor for. The appearance of fresh, bright red blood, whether with the passing of stools or alone, warrants an emergency visit to the doctor. It can appear in small quantities, such as staining toilet paper, or in large quantities, such as dripping down the toilet bowl. Because bleeding can mean several reasons, it is vital to note its exact colour and whether there are stools present in order for the doctor to assess the precise cause better.

What causes rectal bleeding?

There are several causes of rectal bleeding, some dangerous, while others are not. Six of the common causes that result in rectal bleeding are:

  • Anal Fissures: This is the tearing of the anal canal’s lining caused by hard stools. Some symptoms of anal fissures include a tearing or intense sharp pain in the anus when passing stools. The rectal bleed is normally fresh, bright red.
  • Haemorrhoids: This is the protrusion of the lower rectum’s lining that contains blood vessels. The protrusion can occur within the rectum or prolapse outside and then retract back into the anus or just stay prolapsed externally. If the haemorrhoids happen internally, no symptoms might occur. However, if it happens externally, the patient might feel a lump in their anus.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): This is a type of chronic inflammatory disease found in the lower region of the digestive tract. It can either happen in the form of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. The inflammation of the rectum results in the ulceration of its lining, which leads to bleeding. Some other symptoms associated with IBD are bloody diarrhoea and sudden weight loss.
  • Diverticulitis or Diverticulosis: The lining of the colon often develops out-pouches, called diverticulosis, over years of high pressure found in the colon. While they are generally harmless, they sometimes might get inflamed, resulting in the bursting of blood vessels found in these out-pouches. The inflammation is known as diverticulitis.
  • Ischaemic Colitis: Ischaemic is the lack of blood supply. It happens when the blood vessels get narrower due to the build-up of bacterial deposits. When it reaches the threshold, the colon’s blood supply is cut off, resulting in the development of bleeding and an unhealthy lining.
  • Cancer or Polyps: Polyps that occur within the colon or rectum bleeds when their surface is fragile and can be easily damaged by passing stools. Colon and rectum cancer often results in fragile linings that bleed easily too. While often asymptomatic in the early stages, advanced colon cancer symptoms are stomach pain, stomach distention, and weight loss.

These are not the only causes of rectal bleeding. There are many others that are not as common, such as post-radiation colitis, liver cirrhosis, systemic diseases that increase the possibility of bleeding, such as dengue fever, and many others.

Diagnosis of rectal bleeding

The diagnosis starts with understanding past medical history, especially family medical history. Then through a thorough examination, which includes either a proctoscope or a finger rectal examination, the doctor can better assess the issue as well as be aware of the amount of bleeding. Endoscopy or colonoscopy is routine for diagnostic testing, depending on which portion of the gut system the bleeding occurs.


It can be alarming to spot bleeding when passing stools. When occurred, do visit the doctor immediately, but do not panic. Most of the causes of rectal bleeding are treatable when diagnosed early. Nevertheless, all of these can be avoidable when you go for a regular check-up. Whether you are suffering from rectal bleeding or just want to make an appointment for a regular gut health check-up, you can do so at GUTCARE. We offer affordable haemorrhoids treatment cost as well as other gut health-related treatments. For more information, you may visit us at

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