What Is Rectal Bleeding?

Blood in stool means there is bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract. This system is where the organs take in food, digest it and excrete it. Sometimes bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract can be seen with our naked eyes. It may be seen on toilet paper when you wipe or in the toilet after your bowel movement. However, when the amount is very less, it can only be detected by a test done in clinics or hospitals. The bleeding can be found during a lab test of a stool sample. Possible causes of rectal bleeding (berak berdarah) range from harmless gastrointestinal tract conditions like hemorrhoids and anal tears due to straining during constipation to serious conditions like cancer.

Diseases According to The Type of Bleeding in The Stool

If you notice the bleeding in stool is bright red colour, it usually means the bleeding happens low in your colon or rectum. Dark red or maroon colour bleeding in the stool may indicate that the bleeding happens higher in the colon or small bowel. Dark, tarry, and foul-smelling stool, known as melena, often indicates that the bleeding is in the stomach, such as bleeding from stomach ulcers.

Following are the possible causes of blood in stool:

1.      Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are one of the most common causative factors of rectal bleeding. Usually bleeding from hemorrhoids is bright red colour. It is due to swollen veins in the rectum or the anus. There are numerous causes of the development of hemorrhoids such as chronic constipation, pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, etc. Haemorrhoid is not a medical emergency however it can be very uncomfortable as it can be painful or itch.

2.     Anal fissure

This condition is at times confused with hemorrhoids. An anal fissure is a split or tears in the skin around the anus. An anal fissure will occur when you have difficulty in passing hard stools. The pressure of the bowel movement causes the skin to split open. Bleeding can be seen and is usually bright red colour. You may have a burning sensation during bowel movements. An anal fissure may go away over time.

3.      Diverticular diseases

These diseases happen when there are small pouches, called diverticuli, developing in your lower intestine. Usually, this condition does not cause problems but it may bleed or get infected. They can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, and change in bowel habits.

4.      Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disease of the bowel that causes swelling of the small or large intestines. There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. One of the symptoms of IBD is rectal bleeding that may be dark red or tarry.

5.      Cancer

Blood in the stool may be a symptom of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancer. Thus, it is important to see a doctor if you notice bleeding in the stool. Bleeding from colorectal cancer usually is bright or dark red colour. However, sometimes the bleeding is unable to be seen with the naked eye and only can be detected through lab testing of stool samples. Symptoms of colorectal cancer include diarrhea or constipation, abdominal discomfort, feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely, etc.

6.      Ulcers

Ulcers in the stomach may cause rectal bleeding. When the amount of acid or digestive fluids is out of balance, it may damage the lining and cause ulcers. These may cause bleeding and the characteristic bleeding in this condition is black, tarry, and foul-smelling stools.

7.      What you eat may cause a change in stool colour

Certain foods can make your stool an unusual colour. Foods like beets, dragon fruit, blueberries, blackberries, etc. may cause this. This can be easily confused with rectal bleeding. Think back on what you have eaten recently if you notice a change in colour of your stool.

It is always a good idea to book an appointment and visit local clinics or hospitals if you notice blood in stools. Your healthcare provider will figure out the cause of the rectal bleeding.