When to see a doctor

By 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
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • 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.

Apr. 30, 2011