“Why is there blood when I wipe?”
- Blood when wiping is usually caused by bleeding in the lower GI tract (your rectum and anus)
- The two most common causes of blood when wiping are hemorrhoids and anal fissures
- Occasional drops of blood after pooping usually isn’t a serious problem
After you wipe your butt, there’s a natural inclination to inspect the results. Most of the time, the evidence is standard: a brown streak, a stray pube, maybe even a corn kernel from your Chipotle burrito.
But sometimes, there’s a surprise—a bloody surprise.
Most of the time, finding a little bit of bright red blood after you wipe isn’t an emergency. 13-34% of adults experience rectal bleeding at some point, according to the National Library of Medicine, with the most common cause being hemorrhoids.
In this article, we’ll explore 9 common reasons people find blood when wiping, how to stop it, and when to see a doctor.
9 Causes of Blood When You Wipe
If you notice bright red blood when you wipe (but not in your stool), it’s most likely because of bleeding in your lower rectum or around your anus. Dark red blood, on the other hand, is usually a sign of bleeding in your small intestine or upper colon.
Let’s cover some common reasons people find blood when wiping (and what to do about it).
Hemorrhoids (AKA piles) are the most common cause of anal bleeding, affecting about 1 in 20 people. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum, which is the largest part of the large intestine. In some cases, you might not know you have hemorrhoids until they burst with bright-red blood.
How to treat hemorrhoids:
- Use medicated wet wipes with witch hazel instead of dry toilet paper
- Pick up some over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream to soothe the irritation
- Don’t strain yourself to poop. Hemorrhoids hate pressure.
2. Anal Fissures
Also known as anal ulcers, these are small tears in the lining of the anus. Anal fissures are often caused by constipation, as straining to poop causes the blood vessels in the nether regions to burst.
How to treat anal fissures:
- If you’re constipated, drink more water and add more fiber to your diet
- Talk to your doctor about hydrocortisone to reduce swelling and irritation
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD refers to several gastrointestinal diseases that jack up your digestive tract. These include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, both of which cause the bowels to become inflamed.
In addition to rectal bleeding, people with IBD might experience symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, weight loss, anemia, and sudden urges to hit the can.
How to treat IBD:
- Monitor your diet to understand what triggers your IBD
- Take anti-inflammatory meds to soothe your digestive tract
- Talk to your doctor to get a specific diagnosis and treatment plan
4. Anal Fistulas
An anal fistula is a small tunnel between the skin around the anus and an abscess. Most anal fistulas happen because of an infected anal gland that spreads to the skin. Symptoms include rectal pain, swelling, and bloody discharge from your butt.
How to treat fistulas:
- Surgery is usually needed to repair a fistula
- Doctors can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection
Diverticulitis is a common condition where small pockets (called diverticula) form on the walls of your colon. A common symptom is painless bleeding, which usually lasts a few seconds and stops on its own—unless the diverticula become infected.
How to treat diverticulitis:
- Get plenty of rest and try a liquid or low-fiber diet
- Your doctor may prescribe a round of antibiotics if the diverticula are infected
6. Colitis or Proctitis
Colitis is when the tissues lining your colon get inflamed and irritated. One type of colitis, called ulcerative colitis, is notorious for causing open sores that bleed.
Similarly, proctitis refers to inflammation of the tissues lining your rectum (the inside of your butthole), causing pain and bleeding.
How to treat colitis and proctitis:
- Treatment options depend on the underlying cause, but they could include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery
Polyps are noncancerous growths on the lining of your colon or rectum. Most polyps are harmless, but they can cause occasional bleeding and rectal pain.
How to treat polyps:
- Your doctor can remove polyps during a colonoscopy
8. Polished Anus Syndrome
If you ever spot blood on your toilet paper or your butthole is chronically burning, you might be among the 5% of Americans suffering from Polished Anus Syndrome (sometimes called pruritis ani). PAS happens when you wipe aggressively with two-ply sandpaper to the point of chafing your third pit.
How to treat Polished Anus Syndrome:
- Grab a pack of DUDE Wipes. They’re infused with Aloe and Vitamin E to give your booty the spa-like treatment they deserve
- Spritz down your sensitive sides with a bidet to minimize the amount of wiping necessary
9. Colorectal Cancer
According to the New York Times, there has been a sharp increase in colorectal cancer in adults as young as 20 or 30. Colon cancer begins with colon polyps forming in the anal canal, which are benign growths that can turn into cancer cells.
One of the main symptoms of colon cancer is rectal bleeding. However, noticing blood in the toilet bowl is usually not a life-threatening situation. In a 2005 study, 96% of patients who came to their doctor with rectal bleeding did not have cancer.
Other warning signs include lower back pain, abdominal pain, or big changes in your bowel habits, like tarry poop, constipation, or really thin poop (the width of a pencil).
How to lower your risk of colon cancer:
- Eat health, exercise, and avoid excessive drinking. Oh, and if you’re smoking (or god forbid, vaping), quit.
- Early detection can be a life-saver, so if you're over the age of 40, get a colonoscopy
When Should You Worry About Blood When You Wipe?
You don’t need to freak out if you find occasional blood when wiping. However there are some red flags (pun intended) that may warrant a trip to a gastroenterologist:
- Bleeding that lasts more than 3 days in a row
- Dark red or black blood in stool
- Rectal discharge
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Fever, nausea or vomiting
- Long-term changes in your bowel movements, like constipation or needing to poop super often
The Bottom Line on a Bloody Butt
As you can see, there are many possible causes for finding blood when you wipe—some more concerning than others. We’ve worked hard to earn a reputation as subject matter experts on butt stuff. But we’ll leave the official medical diagnoses to the people in the white coats.
Luckily, the fresh life doesn’t require a prescription. So grab a pack of DUDE Wipes and save your ass from the scourge of blood-inducing toilet paper.