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When You Should See a Doctor About Rectal Bleeding

When You Should See a Doctor About Rectal Bleeding

Rectal bleeding can occur for many reasons. Most of the time it isn’t a sign of a serious health issue. However, it’s still important to see a colon and rectal specialist to rule out anything serious. If you notice blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet, don’t put off scheduling a visit for a checkup.

Here at Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists, board-certified colon and rectal surgeon Lisa Perryman, MD, FACS, FASCRS, provides exceptional care in the Denver Metropolitan area. Our team sees patients with various colon and rectal issues. It’s always wise to schedule an evaluation whenever there is unexplained rectal bleeding. Read on to learn about some of the most common causes of rectal bleeding and what signs to look out for. 

What causes rectal bleeding?

Anything from common and mild conditions to more severe and rare conditions can cause rectal bleeding. The following issues are the most typical causes of anal bleeding:


Hemorrhoids are swollen tissue in the rectum or the anus. They can develop for a variety of reasons, including chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, lifting heavy objects, and being overweight. While they aren’t life-threatening, treatment reduces discomfort and prevents complications. 

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a tear in the skin around the anus that is sometimes mistaken for a hemorrhoid. Passing hard, dry stools is the most common cause of an anal fissure. The skin tears due to the extra pressure of the bowel movement. An anal fissure can cause you to see blood in the toilet and feel burning especially during bowel movements, and is quite painful. 

Anal fistula

An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the end of the rectum and the skin near the anus. It is the result of an infection causing pus to develop in the nearby tissue. When the pus drains, a small tunnel is left behind. When this happens, you’ll notice symptoms like discomfort, irritation, or bleeding.


Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are conditions that occur when small pouches called diverticuli form in weakened sections of your intestine. Diverticuli can protrude through the bowel walls, causing bleeding and infections. When these pouches become infected, symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and a sudden change in bowel habits can occur. You should seek immediate medical care if you experience these symptoms as it could lead to more serious conditions. 


A polyp can resemble a mushroom growing from the side of your bowel and can cause bleeding. If left untreated, polyps can develop into cancer in some cases. Polyps painlessly removed during colonoscopy prevent colon cancer, which is treatable when detected early.

Pay attention to the color

If your blood is dark or nearly black in color, it is most likely coming from the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract. It could be caused by ulcers, inflammation of the stomach lining, or enlarged veins in the stomach.

Fresh blood is usually bright red. This usually indicates that it is coming from the lower part of your digestive tract known as your colon and rectum. It could be caused by hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and condyloma, to name a few. Dr. Perryman will discuss your symptoms to gain insight and offer a treatment plan.

When to see a doctor

As a colon and rectal specialist, Dr. Perryman is specially trained to diagnose and treat colon and rectal conditions. If you notice blood, discharge, and pain on a regular basis, it is time to consult with a doctor. If you are concerned about the amount of blood you are seeing or experiencing fever and chills, it is always best to seek prompt medical attention.

If you notice a little blood in your stool, there is usually no need to panic, as most conditions that cause rectal bleeding are easily treated. The first step is to contact Dr Lisa A Perryman. 

To schedule a visit to evaluate rectal bleeding, call or message our Parker, Colorado, office. One of our helpful team members can assist you in setting up an appointment with Dr. Perryman.

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