Rectal bleeding – Rectal Sandrado: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is it?

If you finish going to the bathroom and notice a small amount of bright red to black blood in the toilet, toilet paper, or stool, you are experiencing rectal bleeding.


Rectal bleeding or rectal bleeding has many causes and can occur due to a weaker or abnormal area along your digestive tract. According to the Cleveland Clinic, hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding.

While these and other causes of rectal bleeding may be minor inconveniences, rectal bleeding can be a genuine concern if you lose a lot of blood.

What are the symptoms of rectal bleeding?

The most apparent sign of rectal bleeding is red blood on the toilet paper, or stools dyed red in the toilet bowl. However, you must pay attention to the coloring of the blood (and the color of your stool) as it may indicate different things:

  • Bright red blood indicates bleeding somewhere in the lower gastrointestinal tract, such as the colon or rectum.
  • Dark red or wine-colored blood may indicate bleeding in the small intestine or colon.
  • Black stools may indicate bleeding from the stomach or upper part of the small intestine.

Additional symptoms associated with rectal bleeding include:

  • Confusion.
  • Fainting.
  • Dizziness.
  • Rectal pain.
  • Abdominal pain or cramps.

What causes rectal bleeding?

The causes of rectal bleeding can vary from mild to severe. Benign causes associated with Rectal bleeding include:

  • Anal fissures
  • Constipation or hard and dry stools.
  • Hemorrhoids or veins in the anus or rectum that become irritated.
  • Polyps or small growths of tissue in the lining of the rectum or colon that may bleed after evacuation.

The most serious causes of rectal bleeding include:

  • Anal cancer
  • Colon cancer.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Intestinal infection or infections caused by bacteria, such as salmonella.

The less common causes of rectal bleeding include blood clotting disorders and allergic reactions to certain types of foods.


When should I seek medical help?

Severe rectal bleeding can be a medical emergency. Go to the emergency room if you experience the following additional symptoms:

  • Cold and damp skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Continuous rectal bleeding.
  • Fainting.
  • Painful abdominal cramps.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Severe anal pain
  • Severe nausea

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience less severe rectal bleeding, such as tiny drops of blood from the rectum.

However, because a small amount of rectal bleeding can quickly become a large amount, it is essential to seek treatment early.

How is rectal bleeding diagnosed?

Your doctor will start asking you about your symptoms. Questions may include when you first noticed the bleeding, the related symptoms you are experiencing, and what color your blood is.

Doctors often perform a visual and physical examination to control the affected area. This may include inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the anus to detect abnormalities, such as hemorrhoids.

Sometimes, rectal bleeding may require endoscopic procedures. This involves inserting a thin, flexible endoscope illuminated in the anus.

The endoscope has a camera on end, which allows the doctor to see the area to identify any signs of bleeding. Examples of endoscopic procedures for rectal bleeding include a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.

A doctor may also request a blood test, such as a complete blood count, to determine if you have lost a significant amount of blood.

Treatment for Rectal bleeding

Rectal bleeding treatments depend on the cause and severity.

You can relieve the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids by taking warm water baths. The application of over-the-counter or prescription creams can also reduce irritation.

Your doctor can perform more invasive treatments if your hemorrhoids pain is severe or if the hemorrhoids are enormous. These include elastic band ligation, laser treatments, or surgical removal of hemorrhoids.

Like hemorrhoids, anal fissures can resolve on their own. The use of stool softeners can address problems with constipation and help anal fissures heal. Infections may require antibiotic therapy to kill the bacteria.

Colon cancers may require more invasive and long-term treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, to eliminate cancer and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Home treatments to prevent constipation can reduce the risk of rectal bleeding. These include:

  • Eat foods rich in fiber (unless your doctor tells you otherwise).
  • Exercise regularly to prevent constipation.
  • Keep the rectal area clean.
  • Stay well hydrated.