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Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding)

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

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.

The GP will check what's causing your symptoms.

They might:

Bowel cancer risk

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.

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

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

Bright red blood on toilet paper, streaks on poo, pink toilet water
Blood in poo or blood with slime

Poo can look like it's mixed with blood if you've eaten a lot of red or purple foods like tomatoes and beetroot.

But it's sometimes a sign of something else. A GP can check if you're worried.

Very dark or black blood or poo

Poo can look very dark or black if you:

  • take iron tablets
  • eat a lot of dark foods like liquorice and blueberries

But it's sometimes a sign of something else. A GP can do a test to check this if you're worried.