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Symptoms and Signs of Rectal Bleeding

Doctor's Notes on Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding is blood that is passed with the stool during a bowel movement. Rectal bleeding may be bright red or may be a darker, blackish color. It is also possible to have blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye (called occult bleeding). The medical term for rectal bleeding is hematochezia. There are a number of causes of rectal bleeding. Causes can include hemorrhoids, tears in the anus, inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcers, ischemic colitis, and polyps or cancers of the intestine or anus.

The symptom of rectal bleeding can be associated with other symptoms, depending on the cause of the bleeding. Other associated symptoms can include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, weight loss, decreased appetite, dark or tarry stools, or rectal pain.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.