When rectal bleeding is first noticed it can be quite scary, as it is not normal to see or feel blood coming from the anus. However, there are many reasons as to why this bleeding may be occurring.
External Hemorrhoids – Probably being the most commonly thought of when rectal bleeding first occurs. This usually consists of painful clot filled lumps that can be found growing just outside the anus. These clots can sometimes ulcerate through the skin and lead to ongoing bleeding. Usually the blood is bright red, although it may occasionally have a darker tone to it.
Internal Hemorrhoids – Usually consist of a painless bleeding where blood may be noticed dripping into the toilet bowl, or where it may even be noticed by leaving a streak on the tissue after wiping. The blood is always bright red and may also be associated with mucus in the feces. Both types of hemorrhoids may occur at any age.
Anal Fissure – Usually associated with a painful bowl movement, itching or burning, and bright red blood. These symptoms are usually consistent with a cut just inside the anus.
Diverticular Disease – May include symptoms of rectal bleeding where the blood is bright red (occasionally darker) and usually associated with clots, stomach pains (cramping sensations), and diarrhea that contains either blood or clots. However, diverticular disease usually shows no symptoms at all, and is more commonly associated with the over 50’s.
Proctitis – Is an inflammation of the rectum that may be caused by either inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis), or radiation proctitis (common in men who have previously had certain types of prostate treatments). These are the two most common causes of proctitis, although there are others too. Symptoms are usually bright red blood accompanied with or without mucus, diarrhea, the sensation of an incomplete bowl movement, and a general feeling of discomfort.
Polyps – Commonly associated with growths of no specific size either growing in the colon or the rectum, and which tend to bleed more as they grow larger. A bright red blood is consistent (occasionally darker) which maybe mixed with mucus and commonly found in the stool.
Tumors – Arising from polyps and of no specific size. In most instances there are no symptoms with these tumors, although when there are symptoms, they are usually associated with a change in bowl habits, constipation or diarrhea, mucus in the stool, and a bright red or dark red blood depending upon the location and size of the tumor.