Rectal Bleeding

Definition This includes any blood that you see when you have your bowels open - in the toilet, on the stools, or on the toilet paper.

Prevalence Bleeding is very common - seven million people (almost 1 in 5 of the population) have it every year in the UK but only one in a thousand will have a more serious problem. Mostly it comes from veins just inside the back passage or anus often called 'piles'. These veins are normal structures and bleeding can occur for no obvious reason although it can be caused by straining or from small abrasions to the skin caused by hard stools.   

Bleeding becomes more significant the older you get, particularly when you are over 55 and in this age group it is worth seeing your GP for a simple examination of your back passage and a blood test to see if you have anaemia. It will be important for you to tell your GP:

1. Do you have any pile symptoms

2.  Has your bowel habit changed to going more often and to looser stools  

This will help to decide whether you need further simple tests in hospital. 

For advice on simple treatments of bleeding and for any 'pile' or anal symptoms click on 'Treatment for Bowel Symptoms' below.

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