Rectal Bleeding

This refers to any bleeding from the rectum and is often associated with defecation. This may be frankly visible, or occult (hidden) and mixed in with stool invisible to the naked eye. The color, quantity and frequency of bleeding, as well as, presence of absence of associated pain may help your doctor to determine the cause and management best suited for you.


Many diseases and conditions can cause rectal bleeding. Common causes include:

  • anal fissures
  • hemorrhoids
  • cancers and polyps of the rectum and colon
  • diverticulosis
  • abnormal blood vessels (angiodysplasia)
  • ulcerative colitis
  • ulcerative proctitis
  • Crohn's colitis
  • infectious colitis
  • ischemic colitis
  • Meckel's diverticula

Symptoms include blood from the rectum, rectal or abdominal pain, rectal pressure, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, fever, or mucus and pus in the stools.


Your doctor may examine the anus visually to look for anal fissures, hemorrhoids, etc. The doctor may also perform an internal examination with to feel for abnormalities in the lower rectum and anal canal. If indicated, your doctor may also perform a procedure, namely a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy.


Specific treatment for rectal bleeding is determined by it’s source. Medications (oral or topical), bowel regimens or minor surgical procedures are just a few of the options that may be discussed. Talk with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you.