Q&A : Blood when he goes to the toilet?

Question:

“My husband bleeds out of his bum when he goes to the toilet. Is anything wrong?”

-Mary

Answer:

Dr Sarah Jarvis says: “The most common reason for bleeding from the back passage is piles, otherwise known as haemorrhoids, which sit just inside the bottom. Like anal fissures (a split in the skin at the edge of the bottom), the blood tends to be bright red, and you find it on the paper, in the pan or on the outside of the stool. Blood that comes from higher up in your bowel may be darker, or mixed in with the stool. You can also get ‘melaena’, where the stools look black and tar-like. This is down to bleeding from higher up in the bowel – the iron in the blood turns black in the bowel.

Other conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) can also cause bloody diarrhoea, although you will often feel very unwell at the same time.

Bleeding from the back passage is sometimes a sign of bowel cancer, although this is often invisible at first and more common earlier symptoms include being off your food for no reason, losing weight, a change in bowel habit or tiredness.

Although the most likely cause of your husband’s symptoms, statistically speaking, will be piles or another non-serious cause, it’s always essential to get bleeding checked out. Do work hard to encourage him to see his doctor. They may well be able to reassure him and put both your minds at rest.”

-Dr Sarah Jarvis