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"I noticed blood on toilet paper. What could it be?"

ZocdocAnswersI noticed blood on toilet paper. What could it be?


Hi, For around the last six months i would say around once a month i will go to the loo and realise after going that there is blood on my toilet roll. It is bright red and only in a small quantities. I think it could well be a cut on my rectum as occasionally i feel like my stool scratches me and when this happens i often find the blood. On accession it is sore to pass a stool and hurts a little afterwards. Of course with all the warnings about colon cancer it is slightly concerning and i wouldn't be bothered if this had only happened once or twice but because it keeps coming back it is slightly worrying. Thanks so much of the help, Charlie


This is a great question. It is very important that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms and have a full history and physical done. Depending on what your doctor discovers during your visit, he or she may order additional testing such as lab work (to check your blood counts to make sure you don't have anemia, stool studies, or refer you to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. You are correct in that the most likely cause of occasional bright red anal bleeding is usually a small tear in the rectum or anus called a fissure. Bright red blood can also be caused by hemorrhoids. To avoid both of these conditions it is important to keep your bowel movements soft and regular. This can be achieved by drinking a lot of water (at least 8 cups a day), regular exercise and eating a healthy diet high in fiber. You may need to take an over the counter stool softener occasionally if you get constipated. Colon and rectal cancer can also definitely cause rectal bleeding so it is very important to review your family history and depending on your age be screened. Again, it is very important to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

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