THERE are a number of reasons that may cause rectal bleeding.

While a little bit of blood is not usually a serious problem, your best option is to double-check with your GP.

How to check if you're bleeding from the bottom

You might be bleeding from your bottom if you have:

  • blood on your toilet paper
  • red streaks on the outside of your poo
  • pink water in the toilet bowl
  • blood in your poo or bloody diarrhoea
  • very dark, smelly poo

When you need to see a GP

You probably should book an appointment with your GP if you've had blood in your poo for three weeks or it has become softer, thinner or longer than normal.

You should also see your GP if you're in pain around the bottom, or you feel a pain or lump in your tummy.

Another indication you should seek expert's advice is if you're suddenly more tired than usual or lost a lot of weight.

You should see a GP if your child has blood in their poo.

What happens at the GP appointment

The GP needs to identify what may be causing your symptoms.

They may check your rectum witha gloved finger and/or ask for a poo sample for testing.

They might refer you to a specialist for more tests.

Common causes of rectal bleeding

If you have other symptoms you might be able to identify the reason of the bleeding- however it's always best to see your GP if you're worried.

Pain, bright red blood and itchy bottom might mean you have haemorrhoids while blood while pooing might mean you have a small tear in your anus.

Bleeding with or without lumps could also mean STIs and bleeding without pain could be a side effect of blood-thinning medicine.

Blood and yellow slime when pooing followed by pain could be caused from an anal fistula.

Bloody diarrhoea usually means you caught a tummy bug but if followed by tummy cramps and pain could indicate an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Blood in poo and changes in pooing habits could be an early sign of bowel cancer which is easier to treat if found early.

Very dark poo could be a sign of bleeding in the stomach or gut either from an injury or a side effect of blood-thinning medicine.

Bear in mind that iron tablets or dark foods such as liquorice and blueberries can lead to very dark coloured poo.

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