Blood After Bowel Movement

By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS

Blood after bowel movement

Have you ever noticed blood on toilet paper after a bowel movement and wondered what was causing it? There are numerous things that cause anal bleeding.

The color of the blood helps to reveal how serious the condition is.

  • It may be nothing to be concerned about

  • It may be a sign of several health disorders

  • It may be a sign of something serious that needs immediate treatment

The blood on the toilet paper may be bright red or dark, cherry red in color.

  • A fresh red color rectal bleeding indicates that the blood is from the lower gastrointestinal tract

  • A dark red blood indicates that the bleeding is from farther up in the colon

Causes of Blood After A Bowel Movement

Bleeding in the Lower Gastrointestinal Tract 


The most common cause of bleeding after a bowel movement is hemorrhoids, also called piles. Hemorrhoids are defined as swollen veins in the anal region.

These special veins are part of the body’s mechanism to seal off seepage from the rectum, but too much pressure on the pelvic floor causes them to enlarge. This pressure may be caused by straining during defecation or from pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids are characterized by extreme pain, a prolapse of veins outside the anus, and discharge of blood and mucus after passing stools. 


Fissures are another common cause of rectal bleeding. Fissures are a split or tear in the lining of the anus.

When a very large and hard stool is passed, anal tissues can be stretched too far, causing them to rip and tear. As with any other cut, the will then bleed. When constipation is remedied, these rips in the skin usually heal within a few days.

Diverticula disease

The main symptom of this disease is blood mixed in or on top of stools.

Diverticula disease is caused by a weakening of areas in the colon wall, causing pouches to form. When fecal matter passes over diverticula, it can cause inflammation and bleeding. 

An intestinal infection

An infection in the intestines can cause some bleeding. It is usually associated with other symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea

  • Mucus in stools

  • Abdominal pain

The most serious cause of rectal bleeding is colon or rectal cancer. This needs to be carefully and immediately evaluated by a physician. 

Bleeding in the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract

A rupture of an ulcer in the stomach or duodenum can cause bleeding that may produce dark colored blood mixed in with stools. Such a rupture may lead to internal bleeding and require immediate attention.

Oesophageal varices (large distended blood vessels in the oesophagus) can also cause internal bleeding that may show up in stools. 

Tips to Prevent Blood After Bowel Movements

It is important to carefully evaluate the symptoms of rectal bleeding to determine the underlying cause.

Hemorrhoids and fissures

By far the most common causes of blood on toilet paper after bowel movements are piles and fissures. They are almost always do to hard, constipated stools.

Therefore, to prevent or treat hemorrhoids and fissures, focus on eliminating constipation

There are some important keys to prevent constipation.

  • Eat a diet that has plenty of fiber, preferably 25 g to 35 g per day.

  • Avoid becoming dehydrated, which is a major cause of constipation.

  • Avoid fast foods and processed foods

  • indulge in some type of physical activity. A sedate lifestyle has been linked with constipation

  • Consider taking a magnesium supplement. First of all, magnesium is a needed nutrient that most Americans don’t get enough of. Second, magnesium functions as a natural osmotic laxative that draws extra water into the colon. This helps to soften stool, making it easier to eliminate.

Intestinal infections

The symptoms of gastrointestinal infections usually last a few days. If the infection is severe that it may require antibiotics or an anti-parasitic medicine. These are usually fairly easy to clear up.

Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract

Colon and rectal cancer, diverticula and irritable bowel syndrome are medical conditions that require medical attention. See your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and to set up a plan of treatment. 

Conclusion, blood after bowel movement

Depending upon the underlying cause, blood on the toilet paper after bowel movements can be a serious concern or it may be nothing to worry about. If symptom happen more frequently, please see your doctor for proper evaluation and diagnosis. 

(Return from Blood After Bowel Movement to Signs of Constipation)

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