Bleeding from your bottom, or rectum may mean that something is bleeding along your gastrointestinal tract, from your oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum or anus.
Bright red, fresh blood, dark brown or black blood in the stools is always abnormal. It might show up as blood on the toilet paper, in the toilet or your stool may be dark red or black. This needs to be checked out by a doctor.
If there is substantial bleeding it may be a symptom of some disease. There are many conditions that can cause blood in your stools ranging from ulcers to cancer.
Please remember that certain medications and food (such as beetroot) can make the stool look red or black when there isn’t any bleeding and excessive rubbing can cause some mild bleeding.
How do you investigate further?
Depending on other symptoms one or all of the following procedures might be recommended;
• Gastroscopy Where a camera is used to look down the upper gastro intestional tract. Common causes of bleeding here are ulcers and liver disease related problems such as varices.
• Pillcam A small camera is swallowed. This camera then takes pictures along the middle part of the GI tract includes the jejunum and the ileum. Bleeding from here can be due to crohn’s disease and aberrant arteries.
• Colonoscopy A camera is used to look up through the lower gut, including the terminal ileum and the colon. Causes of bleeding here include haemorrhoids and bowel cancer.