What Can Cause Your Anus to Bleed?

Rectal bleeding

Bleeding from the anus, also known as rectal bleeding, can have various causes. It’s essential to identify the underlying reason for rectal bleeding to determine appropriate treatment. Some common causes include:

  • Hemorrhoids: Swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus can cause bleeding, especially during bowel movements. Straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation, or pregnancy can contribute to hemorrhoid development.
  • Anal Fissures: Small tears or cuts in the lining of the anus, often caused by passing hard or large stools. Anal fissures can lead to bright red blood during or after bowel movements.
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, such as ulcers, diverticulosis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can lead to rectal bleeding. Blood may appear darker if it has been partially digested.
  • Colorectal Polyps: Growth of abnormal tissue in the colon or rectum, which may bleed. Some polyps can develop into cancer over time.
  • Colon Cancer: Rectal bleeding can be a symptom of colorectal cancer, especially in older adults. Other symptoms may include changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.
  • Anal Cancer: Although less common than colorectal cancer, anal cancer can cause rectal bleeding, pain, or lumps around the anus.
  • Infections: Infections in the gastrointestinal tract, such as bacterial or viral infections, may cause inflammation and bleeding.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can cause chronic inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to rectal bleeding.
  • Rectal Prolapse: The rectum may protrude from the anus, causing bleeding and discomfort.
  • Anal Abscess or Fistula: An abscess (collection of pus) or a fistula (abnormal connection between organs) around the anus can cause bleeding.
  • Trauma or Injury: Injury to the anal area, such as from vigorous wiping, foreign objects, or sexual activity, may lead to bleeding.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding.

If someone experiences rectal bleeding, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis. Diagnostic tests may include a physical examination, blood tests, imaging studies (such as a colonoscopy), or other procedures to identify the cause. Prompt medical evaluation is especially important if the bleeding is severe, persistent, or associated with other concerning symptoms.

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