Typically caused by hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, diverticulitis, irritable bowel disease, ulcers or colon cancer, rectal bleeding is first noticeable as red blood on your toilet paper or in the toilet bowl, normally after you have a bowel movement. If you notice this symptom, consult your physician. Choose a diet high in fiber, up to 25 to 35 grams per day, with adequate fluids to support healthy bowel function and avoid further rectal bleeds.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
After a rectal bleed, regularly incorporate nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in your diet for a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber. As recommended by the American Heart Association, aim for four to five servings of each on a 2,000-calorie diet. Choose different colors and types of fruits and vegetables. Serving size examples include 1/2 cup of broccoli, potato or asparagus, 1 cup of fresh raspberries or one small apple. In fruits and vegetables, the fiber content varies, averaging between 0.5 and 4.8 grams per serving.
Hold the White Bread
Replacing white flour products in your diet with whole-grain sources is an easy way to add fiber to your diet after a rectal bleed. On a 2,000-calorie diet, aim for six to eight daily servings from the grain food group, with at least half being whole-grain sources. One-half cup of pasta, one slice of bread or 1 cup of shredded wheat cereal are good whole-grain choices. Read the ingredients on your food label to identify whole-grain sources, which have a higher fiber content per serving. The nutrition facts label will provide you with the specific amount of fiber per serving.
Load Up on Legumes
Adequate fiber intake after a rectal bleed can also achieved by eating legumes. On a 2,000-calorie diet, the American Heart Association recommends a weekly intake of four to five servings of nuts, legumes and seeds. One-half cup of black, pinto or kidney beans, lentils, or chickpeas is considered a serving. Fiber content in legumes ranges from roughly 4 to 8 grams per serving.
Hydration Is Key
With the high-fiber diet, plenty of fluid intake is encouraged following a rectal bleed. Adequate water consumption will soften stools and prevent constipation. Calculate your daily water needs in ounces by taking your weight in pounds and dividing it in half; for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need about 75 ounces per day -- about 9 cups. Fruit or vegetable juice and noncaffeinated beverages can also contribute to your daily fluid goals.
- Cleveland Clinic: Diseases and Conditions: Rectal Bleeding
- Colon and Rectal Surgery Associates: High-Fiber Diet
- American Heart Association: Suggested Servings From Each Food Group
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content in Foods of Common Portions
- MyFoodDiary.com: Recommended Daily Water Intake