Blood in your stool without pain is usually due to a hemorrhoid, but there could be other causes, like anal fissures or polyps. A doctor can help you identify the cause and offer treatment options, like ointments for hemorrhoids or fissures.

It’s natural to feel like pooping blood should be an immediate cause for concern about a major health condition.

Not every cause requires urgent attention if you’re not feeling any pain when you poop. Pooping blood may simply be a short-term symptom linked to a treatable cause, like hemorrhoids.

But some causes of blood in your stool for long periods may need a diagnosis so that you can receive treatment before the condition becomes more severe.

Read on to learn more about the possible causes of pooping blood without pain, what other symptoms can prompt you to get medical attention, and how to manage rectal bleeding.

Hemorrhoids are among the most common causes of rectal bleeding without pain. But blood in your stool can also have other causes that you can manage at home or with over-the-counter medications.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids happen when veins in your rectum or anus swell and bulge out into the skin. They don’t always cause pain, but blood from the swollen veins can leak into the rectum and show up in your stool.

External hemorrhoids occur on the skin outside your anus and can cause bleeding there. But internal hemorrhoids develop inside your rectum. You can’t always tell when an internal hemorrhoid starts bleeding into your stool.

Some other symptoms that can help you figure out if an internal hemorrhoid is bleeding include:

Most hemorrhoids go away without medical treatment.

Learn more about treatment options for bleeding hemorrhoids.

Anal fissures

Anal fissures happen when skin around your anus cracks and bleeds. They don’t always cause pain but may sting or burn, especially when fresh.

Symptoms of anal fissures include:

  • visible torn skin on the anus
  • anal swelling or skin growth
  • blood when you wipe
  • itchiness or burning around your anus

You don’t typically need any treatment for anal fissures unless you develop an infection in the open cuts.

Learn about foods that may help with anal fissures.

Polyps

Polyps are colon growths that look like mushrooms.

Polyps don’t usually cause pain. But they can leak blood into your intestines and cause blood in your stool.

Most polyps are just overgrowths of tissue and not a cause for concern. But some polyps can become cancerous without treatment.

Colorectal cancer

Polyps known as adenomas can develop into colorectal cancer, as cancer cells use blood vessels from your intestines to multiply. Blood from cancerous tumors can appear in your stool.

Colorectal cancer is often treatable if doctors detect it before it spreads to other organs. Doctors can remove cancerous polyps or cut out affected parts of your bowel to keep cancerous cells from spreading.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to conditions that cause inflammation in your digestive tract.

The most common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis in the large intestine and Crohn’s disease in any area of your digestive tract, including your stomach and small or large intestine.

IBD doesn’t consistently cause pain. But swelling can cause blockages of stool that injure tissue in your intestines and rectum as they pass through. This can cause blood from your intestines or rectum to come out with your stool.

Some forms of IBD are mild and manageable with diet or lifestyle changes. But some forms may result in pain, discomfort, or trouble pooping.

Color is a clue

The color of the blood in your stool may give you a clue as to the underlying health concern:

  • Red: If the blood is bright red, the source is likely lower in your digestive tract. It’s likely something closer to the rectum or anus, like a hemorrhoid.
  • Maroon: Dark red or maroon blood suggests that it is coming from higher up in the colon or even from the small intestine.
  • Black: If the blood appears dark and tar-like, it may point to a health concern in the stomach, like a stomach ulcer.
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Get medical attention if you experience severe pain in your abdomen after noticing blood in your poop, especially if the pain happens suddenly.

Other symptoms that can prompt you to contact a doctor include:

A doctor or gastroenterologist (a specialist sometimes called a GI doctor) may use several tests to diagnose the underlying health condition, including a:

  • physical examination to look for other possible causes
  • blood test to look for substances in the blood that indicate underlying causes
  • stool sample for experts to analyze in a lab to find bacteria or other substances
  • gastroscopy to look for stomach bleeding
  • sigmoidoscopy to look at your rectum and lower colon
  • colonoscopy to look for internal hemorrhoids or other causes

Here’s what you can do if you’re pooping blood but not experiencing any significant pain:

  • Move around or get up at least once an hour to reduce pressure on your lower body from sitting.
  • Use ointments or creams to treat hemorrhoids and fissures.
  • Don’t strain when you poop, as this can cause hemorrhoids or fissures.
  • Drink water to promote digestion and help keep your stool easier to pass.
  • Eat more fiber to improve digestion.

You can also talk with a healthcare professional about surgery for severe hemorrhoids, cancer, or IBD.

Pooping blood without pain isn’t always an immediate cause for concern. Some causes go away on their own.

But be sure to get medical help if you have blood in your stool for a long period. Talk with a healthcare professional if you start to notice pain and other disruptive symptoms, such as diarrhea or fever. They can diagnose the cause and help you get treatment.