When to see a doctorBy Mayo Clinic staff
Call 911 or emergency medical assistance
Seek emergency help if you have rectal bleeding and any signs of shock:
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Low urine output
Seek immediate medical attention
Have someone drive you to urgent care or the emergency room if rectal bleeding is:
- Continuous or heavy
- Accompanied by severe abdominal pain or cramping
- Accompanied by anal pain
Schedule a doctor's visit
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have rectal bleeding that lasts more than a day or two, or earlier if worrisome. If you're under age 40 and your rectal bleeding is from an obvious cause, such as a hard stool, small anal fissure or other identifiable source, you can treat it with an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or hydrocortisone.
- Bleeding, rectal. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Bjorkman DJ. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage and occult gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Bleeding in the digestive tract. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bleeding/index.htm. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Jutabha R. Etiology of lower gastrointestinal bleeding in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 28, 2011.