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Rectal bleeding is when blood passes through your rectum and anus. It can occur with or without a bowel movement. Rectal bleeding may be a sign of a serious problem in your rectum, colon, or upper GI tract. Call your doctor right away if you have any rectal bleeding.
The cause of rectal bleeding may be found in any region of the GI tract. The colon or rectum may be the site of your bleeding problem. Or, bleeding may be due to problems farther up the GI tract, such as in the small intestine, duodenum, or stomach.
Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the rectum and anus)
Fissures (tears in or near the anus)
Diverticulosis (inflamed pockets in the colon wall)
Ischemia (low blood flow)
Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
Ulcers in the upper GI tract and inflammation of the large intestine
Abnormal tissue growths (tumors or polyps) in the GI tract
A bulging rectum (also called a rectal prolapse)
Abnormal blood vessels in the small intestine or in the colon
Rectal pain, itching, or soreness
Abdominal pain or epigastric pain
Minor occasional drops of blood that appear on the stool or toilet paper, to greater amounts of stool that appear black or tarry
Rectal bleeding can also occur without pain.