Any time you notice blood in your stool, on your undergarments, or while wiping, you should call your doctor immediately and ask if you should be seen immediately or wait for an appointment. However, if you already made that appointment, and you are anxiously worrying about what may be wrong with you, then determining what may be causing it may help you relax. Here is how you can determine the possible cause of the bleeding by the color of the blood while you await your official diagnosis. 

1. Bright Red Blood

If your doctor decided that you could wait a day or two to see him or her and shouldn't visit the emergency room, then you likely noticed relatively bright red blood. While blood of any color coming from your anal area can be scary, dark red blood is the more dangerous of the two. Bright blood is fresh, so it is typically not a sign of deep internal bleeding. 

The most common causes of fresh blood that you notice when you wipe or on your undergarments are hemorrhoids or anal fissures. You have likely heard of hemorrhoids, which are blood vessels in the rectum that have become irritated and inflamed. However, you may not know much about anal fissures, because while relatively common, you don't see television ads advertising remedies for them and they are not as frequently discussed. 

Anal fissures are small tears in your anal canal. They can occur in people of all ages and genders, even infants. While often caused by simple trauma, such as that triggered by too much stress put on the anal tract while constipated, they can be caused by other factors. Diseases that can lead to anal fissures include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, several STDs, HIV, and anal cancer. However, before you panic, think of any trauma you may have experienced in the area that could have led to a fissure while you wait for your doctor's appointment. 

2. Dark Red or Black Blood

Darker blood is typically older, and that means it likely stems from higher up in your digestive tract. However, an exception can be if you have been constipated and have not passed a bowl movement in several days; in that case, it could have come from your anal canal and darkened before you noticed it when you finally passed a bowel movement. Dark red and black blood can come from as high up in your digestive tract as your esophagus, but it can also come from your stomach, colon, and upper intestinal tract. 

Since there are so many possible organs dark red blood can come from, it is typically considered more of a medical emergency, just because it could signal a serious problem, although it doesn't always. Take note of any pain or unusual sensations in your body while you prepare for your appointment, because that can help your doctor narrow down the origin of the blood fissure to more easily find the cause. 

Any time you notice blood in your stool, when you wipe, or on your undergarments, it is important to notify your doctor and report what you see and any other symptoms you are experiencing. While you are awaiting your appointment, use this information to ease your concerns.