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What are the causes for rectal bleeding?

I have noticed that for the past month, when I wipe after a bowel movement, there is, what seems to me, quite a lot of bright red blood on the toilet paper and the toilet water is stained red from blood. I'm usually constipated (but this is not anything new, I've always had stomach problems since childhood) but the few times I do go, I don't have to strain at all. There is no rectal pain or itching, however I've had a few episodes when I get a really sudden and sharp pain on my lower left abdomen that goes away after a short while. The rectal bleeding started on my first menstrual period after getting the copper IUD (I usually have more bowel movements during my period) I am really scared because this started so suddendly and I have no idea what could be wrong and it just doesn't seem right to be bleeding so much. Please help!
Seeing bright red blood on the toilet paper or by turning the toilet bowel water red after a bowel movement can be quite a scary experience. Stool comes in a range of colors that are generally influenced by what you eat and is considered to be normal. However, if you cannot attribute the changes in your stool color to benign causes such as eating certain foods or taking bismuth medicines like Pepto-Bismol or iron supplement, most likely it is a symptom of a medical condition that is not to be ignored. It is good that you take notice of the stool color which will help in locating the site of bleeding. Bright red blood in the stool usually indicates bleeding low in the colon or rectum. It is often from hemorrhoids. Anal fissure (tear in the skin of the anus), diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) can also result in blood passed in the stool. Symptoms usually develop quickly, but most causes are treatable and not serious. In some cases, rectal bleeding signals an internal bleeding caused by a serious condition such as colon polyps or colorectal cancer. Polyps are benign but can grow, bleed and become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is a common form of cancer that can usually be cured if diagnosed and treated early enough. For this reason, all rectal bleeding should be evaluated by a doctor. He or she can perform a digital rectal examination or order tests like a colonoscopy to determine the cause of the bleeding.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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