Rectal Bleeding Treatment

Call 911 if you have:

  • Large amounts of bright red blood, clots in the toilet bowl, or nonstop bleeding
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or extreme weakness with bleeding
  • Black, sticky stools accompanied by lightheadedness, chest pain or weakness
  • A history of liver disease, bleeding disorder, severe anemia, or a bleeding ulcer

1. Call the Doctor

  • Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. While some causes of blood with bowel movements are minor, others, such as colon cancer, are serious.

2. Monitor Symptoms

  • Before the appointment with your healthcare provider, keep track of color and consistency of the blood and stool. Also keep track of symptoms such as rectal or abdominal pain, rectal pressure, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, fever, or mucus in the stools.

3. Follow Up

  • The health care provider may do a rectal exam and order tests, such as a colonoscopy, to find the cause. Rectal bleeding may stem from many conditions, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal abscesses or fistulas, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, polyps, or colon cancer.


  2. University of Iowa Health Care: “Rectal Bleeding."
  3. Cleveland Clinic: “Understanding Rectal Bleeding."
  4. Rectal Bleeding Information from eMedicineHealth.

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