Rectal Problems - Topic Overview
Many people have small amounts of
rectal bleeding. Irritation of the rectum from diarrhea or constipation, a
small hemorrhoid, or an anal fissure can cause a small amount of bright red
blood on the surface of the stool or on the toilet paper. Hemorrhoids and anal
fissures usually occur after straining during a bowel movement because of
constipation. This type of bleeding can cause pain during a bowel movement and
does not make the toilet water bloody. It is not serious if there is only a
small amount of blood and the bleeding stops when the diarrhea or constipation
stops. Home treatment is usually all that is needed.
occur anywhere in the digestive tract. The blood is digested as it moves
through the digestive tract. The longer it takes the blood to move through the
digestive tract, the less it will look like blood. Often blood that is caused
by bleeding in the stomach will look black and
tarry. A tarry stool has a black, shiny, sticky appearance and looks like
tar on a road. Blood that has moved quickly through the
digestive tract or that begins near the rectum may appear red or dark red.
Certain medicines and foods can affect the color of the stool. Diarrhea medicines (such as Pepto-Bismol) and iron tablets can make the stool black. Eating lots of beets may turn the stool red. Eating foods with black or dark blue food coloring can turn the stool black.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.