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Frank blood per rectum

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Rectal bleeding indicates that the patient complains of the presence of blood passed per rectum. The patient is not simply faecal occult blood positive.

It is a common symptom in adults of all ages.

In the vast majority of patients in primary care, the cause will be benign and most often a benign anorectal condition such as haemorrhoids and/or an anal fissure. However, rectal bleeding may be a symptom of colorectal cancer or ulcerative colitis (1).

It must not be attributed to haemorrhoids without proper investigation.


  1. Walsh CJ, Delaney S, Rowlands A. Rectal bleeding in general practice: new guidance on commissioning. Br J Gen Pract. 2018 Nov;68(676):514-515.

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