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Rectal Bleeding Specialist

Digestive Disorders Associates and MDTEC

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD & Gambrills, MD

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 lower portion of your large intestine. Rectal bleeding may show up as blood in your stool, on the toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. Blood that results from rectal bleeding is usually bright red in color, but occasionally can be dark maroon. Review some of the common causes of bloody stools and what you and your doctor should do if you discover a problem. If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, please call our office at 410-224-4887, or visit our home page to schedule an appointment today!

Rectal Bleeding

Causes of Blood in Stool:

Blood in stool means there is bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract. Sometimes the amount of blood is so small that it can only be detected by a fecal occult test (which checks for hidden blood in the stool). At other times it may visible on toilet tissue or in the toilet after a bowel movement as bright red blood. Bleeding that happens higher up in the digestive tract may make stool appear black and tarry.

Possible causes of blood in stool may include (but are not limited to):

Hemorrhoids- swollen and inflamed veins in your anus or rectum

Diverticular disease- Diverticula are small pouches that project from the colon wall. Usually, diverticula don't cause problems, but sometimes they can bleed or become infected.

Anal fissure- A small cut or tear in the tissue lining the anus similar to the cracks that occur in chapped lips or a paper cut. Fissures are often caused by passing a large, hard stool and can be painful.


Colitis- Inflammation of the colon. Among the more common causes are infections or inflammatory bowel disease.

Angiodysplasia- A condition in which fragile, abnormal blood vessels lead to bleeding.

Peptic ulcers- An open sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the upper end of the small intestine. Many peptic ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Long-term use or high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can also cause ulcers.

Polyps or cancer-Polyps are benign growths that can grow, bleed, and could become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S. It often causes bleeding that is not noticeable with the naked eye.

Esophageal problems- Varicose veins of the esophagus or tears in the esophagus can lead to severe blood loss.

Proctitis- inflammation of the lining of the rectum

Radiation therapy

It is important to have a doctor evaluate any bleeding in the stool. Any details you can give about the bleeding will help your doctor locate the site of bleeding. For example, a black, tarry stool is likely an ulcer or other problem in the upper part of the digestive tract. Bright red blood or maroon-colored stools usually indicate a problem in the lower part of the digestive tract such as hemorrhoids or diverticulitis.

After getting a medical history and doing a physical exam, the health care provider may order tests to determine the cause of bleeding. Please call our office at 410-224-4887, or visit our home page to schedule an appointment today!

“Blood in Stool (Hematochezia): Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD,

“Rectal Bleeding Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 4 Mar. 2020,