Medical Q&As

Rectal bleeding - worried?

Occasionally when I have a bowel movement I bleed from my back passage. Should I be worried about this?

Rectal bleeding should not be regarded as a normal occurrence but the cause usually proves to be relatively straightforward. Haemorrhoids or piles are a common cause of such bleeding. An anal fissure can also cause rectal bleeding. Such fissures can be compared to cracking of the lips during cold weather. Just as the crack in the lip opens and bleeds as the mouth is opened similarly the anal fissure splits particularly if a large and bulky constipated stool is passed. Bleeding can also occur as a result of diverticular disease of the colon, which is a very common problem in Ireland and is largely dietary in origin. Sometimes bleeding can occur as result of inflammation in the colon, rectum or anus. Rectal polyps can also cause bleeding. Cancer of the colon may sometimes present with rectal bleeding. Several of the conditions I have mentioned arise as a result of insufficient roughage in the diet. So the solution to your problem may be a simple one and might involve increasing the amount of roughage in your diet. However, it would be prudent to visit your GP and have the source of the bleeding identified.