Should You Be Worried About Rectal Bleeding?

What is rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding (bleeding from the bottom) is common. In fact, one in four people will experience rectal bleeding in their lifetime. This could be blood on the toilet paper, blood in the poo or bloody diarrhoea. These things can often go away on their own and may not be cause for any alarm.

Do I need to see a doctor for rectal bleeding?

Rectal bleeding could be a symptom of colorectal cancer among other things. For this reason, you should make an appointment to see your GP if you have had blood in your poo for 3 weeks, if you have pain in or around your bottom or if you have pain or a lump in your abdomen. You should also see your GP if you have had any unexpected weight loss. If there is a lot of blood, if you have bloody diarrhoea or if there are large blood clots then it is important to go to A&E urgently or call 999 as you may be losing a lot of blood.

What does rectal bleeding indicate?

There are many causes of rectal bleeding and some are more serious than others. It can be caused by infections that may be sexually transmitted or not, a small cut in your anus (an anal fissure) or piles among other things. People who are on blood-thinning medication also sometimes experience rectal bleeding due to their medications. Blood in stool can also be a sign of bowel polyps or bowel cancer.

Remember, most rectal bleeding is innocent but should be reported if persistent.

Adapted from NHS