Blood in Stool or when Wiping

Blood can be easily noticed on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl water. However blood in the stool is not always seen. Afterall, not everybody look at their stool. Normal stool color vary based on the food you ate and the amount of bile secreted, and can be in any shade of yellow, green or brown. Some food or medication may turn your stool color red, orange or black, such as beets, cranberries, leafy green vegetables, certain antibiotics or iron supplement. When there is blood coating your stool, you may see bright or dark red streaks of blood on the stool surface. When blood is mixed in the stool, the stool color can be normal, maroon (reddish brown) or black depending on the amount of blood present and if the blood has been oxidized.

Common causes of blood in stool or when wiping

You are more likely to notice bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl when you have bleeding from the following sources:

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Anal fissure

  • Perianal skin irritation

  • Anal fistula

  • Diverticular bleed

  • Anal cancer

  • Rectal prolapse

  • Proctitis

  • Ulcerative colitis

The blood is more likely to be coating the stool or mixed in when you have bleeding from the following sources:

  • Colon cancer

  • Rectal cancer

  • Colorectal polyp

  • Bleeding from upper GI tract including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, and the small intestine

When you should get evaluated

Stool color change due to food or medication should go away after the food residue or medication is eliminated in your stool (one to few days). If you know your bleeding is not related to certain food or medication, and it is not just 1 or 2 isolated incidences, you should see a healthcare provider for evaluation. You may be bleeding a small amount everyday that is not noticeble in the stool, but over time the amount of blood loss may cause anemia (typical found in a blood test). When you are anemic, you may feel more tired than usual, look pale or have low energy level and easily exhausted. It is important to mention to your doctor if you notice other symptoms such as pain, change in bowel pattern (contipation or diarrhea), abnormal discharge or mucus, feeling of a mass or lump, etc.