Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding)Overview

A small amount of one-off bleeding from the bottom is not usually a serious problem. But a GP can check.

Check if you're bleeding from the bottom

You might be bleeding from the bottom if you have:

  • blood on your toilet paper
  • red streaks on the outside of your poo
  • pink water in the toilet bowl
  • blood in your poo or bloody diarrhoea
  • very dark, smelly poo (this can be blood mixed in poo)

A small amount of one-off bleeding can often go away on its own without needing treatment.

See a GP if:

  • your child has blood in their poo
  • you have had blood in your poo for 3 weeks
  • your poo has been softer, thinner or longer than normal for 3 weeks
  • you're in a lot of pain around the bottom
  • you have a pain or lump in your tummy
  • you have been more tired than usual
  • you have lost weight for no reason

Get advice from 111 now if:

  • your poo is black or dark red
  • you have bloody diarrhoea for no obvious reason

111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.

Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

Other ways to get help

Get an urgent GP appointment

A GP may be able to treat you.

Ask your GP practice for an urgent appointment.

Go to A&E or call 999 if:

  • you're bleeding non-stop
  • there's a lot of blood – for example, the toilet water turns red or you see large blood clots

What happens at your GP appointment

The GP will check what's causing your symptoms.

They might:

Important

Bleeding from the bottom is sometimes a sign of bowel cancer.

This is easier to treat if it's found early, so it's important to get it checked.

Common causes of bleeding from the bottom

If you have other symptoms, this might give you an idea of the cause.

Do not self-diagnose – see your GP if you're worried.

Page last reviewed: 31/03/2017
Next review due: 31/03/2020