Slideshows Images Quizzes

Copyright © 2018 by RxList Inc. RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

Definition of Rectal bleeding

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Rectal bleeding: Blood passed rectally. Blood in the stool can be bright red or maroon in color. Larger amounts of blood that remain in the intestine long enough can turn the stool black. Blood in the stool also may be invisible to the naked eye (occult).

The causes of blood in the stool range from harmless, annoying conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as hemorrhoids to very serious conditions such as cancer. Blood in the stool should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

See: Anal fissure; Colon cancer; Crohn's disease; Diverticulosis; Peptic ulcer; and Gastric cancer.

Picture of Colon Anatomy and Sources of Rectal Bleeding

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors