Does Bleeding Always Mean Hemorrhoids?

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What are some other conditions that may cause rectal bleeding?

Does Bleeding Always Mean Hemorrhoids?

One of the cardinal signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids is the presence of bright red blood on the toilet paper when you wipe after a bowel movement. As stool forces its way past the inflamed veins, there may be small bursting or cracking, resulting in a swab of blood. But there are other conditions that could be responsible for this blood, and it is important to differentiate between them.

Another minor condition which may cause rectal bleeding is an anal fissure. Similar to hemorrhoids, anal fissures form when stool passes rather forcefully through the anal opening on its way out. Small tears in the anal tissue cause the bleeding, and there is usually pain as well.

Some more serious gastrointestinal problems may also cause rectal bleeding as well as confusion with hemorrhoid symptoms. These include:

  • Colon polyps: These small, precancerous growths in the colon may occasionally bleed.
  • Colorectal cancer: Blood from this tends to be more maroon-colored as opposed to bright red, so it may be easier to differentiate.
  • Diverticular disease: Blood from this condition appears in the stool or toilet bowl as well, but bleeding is usually quite heavy.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: Bright red or dark blood in the stool is the sign along with an accompanying fever, cramps, diarrhea and weight loss.

See a doctor for rectal bleeding that doesn't seem to be clearly due to hemorrhoids. Find one in your area by using the free search tool on



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