Looking down into a toilet and seeing blood can be alarming. Your mind might go to many places as alarm bells ring that something is wrong. This is often rectal bleeding. A symptom of many different medical conditions, rectal bleeding can vary from being mild to being a sign of a serious condition like colorectal cancer. It can be different colors, ranging from bright red to a dark maroon to black. This type of bleeding is usually found during a lab test of a stool sample.
Minor rectal bleeding refers to the passage of a few drops of bright red fresh blood from the rectum, which may appear on the stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. This brochure addresses minor rectal bleeding that occurs from time to time. Continuous passage of significantly greater amounts of blood from the rectum or stools that appear black, tarry or maroon in color can be caused by other diseases that will not be discussed here. Call your doctor immediately if these more serious conditions occur.
Back to Health A to Z. A small amount of one-off bleeding from the bottom is not usually a serious problem. But a GP can check.