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.