HomeHealth-and-wellnessHealth ConditionsRectal Bleeding – Causes, Colours, And When To Call The Doctor

Rectal Bleeding – Causes, Colours, And When To Call The Doctor

You may have often encountered scenarios where you notice considerable blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement or specs of blood on the tissue paper. These drops of blood are a result of rectal bleeding, which is in turn caused by conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, haemorrhoids, fissures in the anal cavity, colorectal cancer, or ulcers. 

What Is Rectal Bleeding??

Rectal bleeding is the phenomenon wherein various diseases and disorders in the body lead to tears or inflammation in the rectum, thus leading to rectal pain and rectal bleeding. The condition is usually a by-product of other health issues.

Often, rectal bleeding is caused by insignificant inflammations from disorders that are mild but can lead to serious consequences such as colon-rectal cancer. If you have persistent rectal pain and blood droplets, it is best to seek rectal bleeding treatment at the earliest.

What Are The Rectal Bleeding Causes?

There are many rectal bleeding causes that influence the condition. Here are some of the common causes of rectal bleeding:

  1. Anal fissure or tears in the skin surrounding the anus
  2. Haemorrhoids are essentially veins in the rectum that swell up.
  3. Diverticulosis or diverticulitis, which are small pouches formed on the weak parts of the intestines
  4. Fistula or abscess in the anal regions
  5. Ulcers caused by bodily fluids of the digestive kind
  6. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Colitis or Crohn’s disease
  7. Sizable polyps growing out from the side of your bowels that bleed.


The rectal bleeding largely influences the colour, symptoms, and rectal bleeding treatment. It also affects rectal pain which may or may not happen based on the rectal bleeding causes.

What Are The Colours Of Blood During Rectal Bleeding?

Rectal bleeding can indicate various degrees of health issues. In some cases, if the rectal pain is minimal and the bleeding is controlled, there is not much reason for concern. However, if the rectal bleeding and pain are consistent, it is best to seek medical attention.

Doctors will usually inquire about the colour of the blood produced during bowel movements or rectal bleeding to determine the cause and the source area from which the blood is dispersed. Based on the colour of the blood in rectal bleeding, here are the possible locations where the symptoms may have been initiated:

  • Melena is darkened blood that looks similar to tar. They are the most scary-looking colours in rectal bleeding and indicate a dire need for rectal bleeding treatment too. Darkened blood indicates the source of the bleeding is in the stomach, possibly from ulcers.
  • Dark Red blood or blood that is almost maroon in colour indicates that the blood has not travelled a very long distance in the rectum. Usually, these dark red shades or maroon blood indicates that the source of bleeding is located around the small intestine or somewhere higher up the colon.
  • Bright shades of red indicate that the source of bleeding is close to the opening of the rectum usually, the colour of rectal bleeding is caused by fissures and sources that are on the lower parts of the colon.


Based on the colour that you describe, medical professionals will also determine how serious the case of rectal bleeding is and the appropriate rectal bleeding treatment for the same. You may need to check the colour of the blood yourself during a bowel movement or the doctor will insist upon bringing a sample to examine the colour of the blood.

In some cases, the blood in your stool may not even be accessible or visible in any way except through a microscope. Taking samples is an excellent way to diagnose such cases of rectal bleeding.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Rectal Bleeding?

If you do not spot the blood in your stool or tissue paper, you can still recognize the signs of rectal bleeding. Here are some of the symptoms for which you need to keep a close eye out:

  • Rectal pain or extreme pressure, especially when evacuating your bowels.
  • Specs of blood on the toilet paper while wiping or on your underwear.
  • Stool or the toilet bowl that is tainted red from blood.
  • Stools that are stained black like tar or even appear bright or dark red in colour.
  • Stool that appears inherently like tar.
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Fainting or light-headedness


Symptoms of rectal bleeding are often related to the cause of the bleeding. Therefore, if you suffer from major health problems that result in rectal inflammation or bleeding as a side effect, be on the lookout and consult a doctor.

Rectal bleeding may often also be a symptom of more serious and chronic disorders. It is best to have it checked as early as possible in order to determine if the problem is minuscule or a sign of something more severe.

When To Call The Doctor If You Have Rectal Bleeding?

Ideally, if you spot any signs of rectal bleeding, it is best to consult with a medical health professional right away. In case the colour of the blood in your stool appears darker or starts to darken with time, it could indicate the presence of other severe cases of disorders.

While all the signs of rectal bleeding should have you reaching for the phone but if you spot any of the following signs, then seek rectal bleeding treatment from a medical professional right away:

  • If your blood pressure suddenly drops, which would essentially lead to dizziness and disorientation.
  • Experiencing difficulty when passing urine.
  • Elevated heart rates that feel like arrhythmia and similar disorders.
  • Slipping in and out of consciousness and feeling confused.


Rectal bleeding may not seem like a pressing issue in the initial stages, especially in the absence of rectal pain. However, if you have any signs of rectal bleeding, it is best to have your colon and rectum examined thoroughly by medical professionals to pinpoint the problem and seek effective solutions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from rectal bleeding, call the doctor and check for the possible causes of the condition.

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