While it’s rare that you experience it daily, blood in the stools can be both frightening and alarming. While it might not necessarily point to a health condition, it is important to find the cause and get treatment in time.

Rectal Bleeding: The Causes
Rectal bleeding, or blood in the stools, is a condition in which there is some amount of blood that flows through your anus and passes out of your system through your stools. The blood will most likely have a dark red or blackish tint.

While in most cases rectal bleeding will be mild and may stop on its own without the need of any treatment, some cases may require treatment, especially if the bleeding is regular and the flow is heavier than a few drops. Here are a few possible causes that could result in bloody stools. [1]

1. Anal Fissures
If you are constipated and passing hard stools, or a large amount of stool at the same time, it may lead to a cut or tear in the tissue along your anus, resulting in some blood. [2] Though this might cause a little pain, it is a serious health issue. Most cases heal on their own in three to four weeks, exceeding which you must visit your doctor.

Tips To Help: Include fiber-rich foods in your diet such as wheat or oat bran, seeds and nuts, whole grains, apple and citrus fruits to prevent constipation.

2. Colitis
An inflammation of the lining of the colon or the large intestine, colitis mostly stems from a bowel disease or infections of the intestine. In case of colitis a slight bleeding will not be visible in your stool, but regular bleeding will show up easily.

While it can get serious if not treated on time, colitis usually heals within a period of three to four weeks. In some cases, an inflammation in the bowel could also be due to hereditary reasons or as a result of an auto-immune response of the body.

Tips To Help: Washing your hands often will prevent the spread of germs that could lead to an infection.

3. Ulcers
Bacterial infection may lead to a peptic ulcer in the lining of the stomach, or at the upper end of the small intestine, which might lead to rectal bleeding.  [3]

Tip To Help: Avoid smoking and alcohol as well as the use of any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce your chances of getting peptic ulcers.

4. Cancer
A polyp (a cancerous growth) or cancer in the rectum can often result in very visible spots of blood in your stools.  [4]

Tip To Help: Go for regular colorectal cancer screenings, as it takes about 10 to 15 years for the polyps to develop into cancer.

5. Problem In The Blood Vessel
In some cases, the blood vessels may be extremely fragile, a condition known as angiodysplasia, which can also lead to bleeding while passing stools.  [5]

Tips To Help: Speak to your doctor if you notice irregular spots of blood in your stool, accompanied by weakness or shortness of breath.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

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1. Causes of Blood In Stool. Site http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/blood-in-stool (Read on 18 Aug 2015)
2. Anal Fissure: A Common Cause of Anal Pain. Villalba, Herman, Sabrina Villalba, and Maher A Abbas. “Anal Fissure: A Common Cause of Anal Pain.” The Permanente Journal 11.4 (2007): 62–65. Print. (Read on 18 Aug 2015)

3. Ulcerative Colitis. Site http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/ulcerative-colitis (Read on 18 Aug 2015)

4. What Is Colorectal Cancer? Site http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-what-is-colorectal-cancer (Read on 18 Aug 2015)

5. Angiodysplasia of the Colon: A Cause of Rectal Bleeding. Athanasoulis CA, Galdabini JJ, Waltman AC, Novelline RA, Greenfield AJ,Ezpeleta ML. Angiodysplasia of the colon: a cause of rectal bleeding. Cardiovasc Radiol. 1977-1978;1(1):3-13. PubMed PMID: 311247. (Read on 18 Aug 2015)

A pregnancy & babycare writer as well as wellness believer, Debolina is always trying to bring in health and wellness into her family’s, especially her kids’, lives. With a Master’s degree in English literature, she has worked with several mothercare and babycare brands. In her free time, she helps with campaigns that work towards promoting the health and well-being of women and babies. Her experiences as a mother help her talk about busy modern-day parenting and its changing trends.