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What can cause a bleeding rectum?

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Chronic constipation, passing hard stools, the presence of hemorrhoids and the presence of an anal fissure are some common causes of bleeding from the rectum, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes of rectal bleeding include diverticulitis, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors and polyps, and bowel trauma, states eMedicineHealth. Ulcers and esophageal tears may also cause rectal bleeding.

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Rectal bleeding can range in color from bright red to maroon to black and tarry, advises Mayo Clinic. Black, tarry stools often indicate an issue in the upper gastrointestinal tract, notes eMedicineHealth.

Because there are so many conditions that can cause rectal bleeding, anyone who notices the problem for more than a day or two should see a doctor for a medical evaluation, says Mayo Clinic. A person over 40 who has rectal bleeding may require a colonoscopy to rule out the possibility of cancer.

A person who has continual or heavy rectal bleeding or rectal bleeding accompanied by anal pain or severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical care, warns Mayo Clinic. Emergency medical assistance is needed for a person with rectal bleeding who displays signs of shock. These include quick, shallow breathing; dizziness when rising to a standing position; fainting; nausea; and confusion. Cold, clammy skin and reduced urine output are other possible signs of shock.

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