Rectal bleeding is usually caused by blood from the lower portion of the GI tract, specifically the lower colon and the rectum itself, but it can refer to any blood coming from the anus. Blood coming from the rectum usually appears bright red, but it can be maroon or darker, depending on the source of the bleeding.

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1. Color

The color of the blood in rectal bleeding depends on its source. The darker the blood, the higher in the digestive system the bleeding originates. Dark, tar-like stool, called melena, often indicates bleeding in the stomach. Maroon blood typically comes from the small bowel and bright red blood from the colon or rectum.

stomach bleeding pain RUNSTUDIO / Getty Images
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