Seeing blood on toilet paper can be a little alarming. You may have heard that rectal bleeding is a sign of cancer, but more often, bleeding is a symptom of a less serious cause. Many things can cause rectal bleeding, including a bad case of diarrhea or constipation.
Rectal bleeding can refer to any blood that passes from your anus, although rectal bleeding is usually assumed to refer to bleeding from your lower colon or rectum. Your rectum makes up the last few inches of your large intestine. Rectal bleeding may show up as blood in your stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.
Rectal bleeding has many causes and can occur as the result of a weaker or abnormal area along your digestive tract. According to the Cleveland Clinichemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding. The most apparent sign of rectal bleeding is red blood on toilet tissue or visible blood or red-tinged stool in the toilet bowl.
Although rectal bleeding is common, only about one-third of those affected seek treatment. Symptoms usually develop quickly, and most causes are treatable and not serious. In some cases, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of a serious disease, such as colorectal cancer.
Rectal bleeding refers to any blood that passes from the anus where stool, or poop, exits the body. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating foods with fiber, and exercising regularly can help treat and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures. Keeping the area clean and applying ointments can relieve pain and speed healing.
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
Back to Health A to Z. A small amount of one-off bleeding from the bottom is not usually a serious problem. But a GP can check. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Minor rectal bleeding refers to the passage of a few drops of bright red fresh blood from the rectum, which may appear on the stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. This brochure addresses minor rectal bleeding that occurs from time to time. Continuous passage of significantly greater amounts of blood from the rectum or stools that appear black, tarry or maroon in color can be caused by other diseases that will not be discussed here.