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Rectal bleeding can refer to any discharge of blood from your anus, but in most cases, it refers to bleeding that originates in the rectum, which comprises the last few inches of your colon. Rectal bleeding can appear as blood in your stool, blood on the toilet paper following a bowel movement, or blood in the toilet. Usually, bleeding from the rectum appears as a bright red color, while bleeding that occurs farther up in your colon will appear darker, especially when combined with your stool when it can cause a tar-like appearance.
Rectal bleeding can occur for many reasons, some of which can be quite serious and some acute types of bleeding which are not serious. Some of the most common causes of rectal bleeding include:
straining when having a bowel movement, especially after a period of constipation
rectal fissure (a small cut inside the rectum)
inflammation of the rectum
abnormalities in the blood vessels in or near the rectum
ischemic colitis, or lack of blood flow to the colon
Sometimes, rectal bleeding can occur from a hard stool or other benign causes and doesn't require a physician's intervention and treatment. But when rectal bleeding is heavy or occurs on a regular basis, you need to be evaluated by a skilled gastroenterologist to ensure it isn't occurring as a result of a serious underlying medical condition. When it comes to your health, it's always better to be safe. If you have rectal bleeding, call the office and ask if you should be seen to determine the underlying cause.
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