Help! I saw blood on the toilet paper after I wiped – what should I do!?

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Q: Help! I saw bright red blood on the toilet paper after I wiped.  What should I do!? 

Short A: Come in to see us so we can check it out.

Long A: Don’t panic. We see this all the time at Student Health and it’s rarely as scary as it looks.  You’re probably dealing with a hemorrhoid: a very common, and literal, pain in the butt. 

Hemorrhoids are abnormally swollen veins in the rectum or anus that bleed with minor pressure, such as that which occurs from bowel movements.  They can be painful or painless depending on their location, and are often associated with rectal pain and itching, a lump that you can feel and/or rectal bleeding. 

Risk factors for developing hemorrhoids include

  • Poor fiber intake
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Engaging in anal sex

When you come to the Student Health Center, we will ask you a lot of embarrassing questions and do an embarrassing examination to rule out other more serious causes of rectal bleeding such as infections, inflammatory bowel disease, anal fissures and even (rarely) colon cancer.  Since some hemorrhoids are located a few inches inside the rectal canal, we may have to use a small, lubricated, clear plastic tube called an anoscope to look on the inside.

The mainstay of hemorrhoid treatment (and prevention) is fiber, fiber, fiber.  Most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diet, which leads to constipation, which leads to straining to have a bowel movement, which leads to increased pressure in the rectal veins which… you get the idea.  Supplementing your diet with soluble fiber supplements (Metamucil or Benefiber) will work wonders for this problem.  Other things you can do include:

  • Avoid straining and prolonged sitting on the toilet
  • Lose weight if necessary
  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day
  • Exercise regularly
  • Gently clean the anal area with soft, moistened paper after each bowel movement and avoid the urge to scratch – as an old family doctor once told me: “Wipe, don’t polish!”

Again, while it can certainly be scary, rectal bleeding is rarely a sign of a life-threatening condition.  But if it happens to you, be sure to see your health care provider to make sure it isn’t, especially if the bleeding is dark brown or black, is heavy, you feel weak or light-headed, or the pain gets suddenly a lot worse.


John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

113 thoughts on “Help! I saw blood on the toilet paper after I wiped – what should I do!?

  1. I was constipated for over 4 days today I went to the restroom and it was painful. when I looked in the toilet there was a significant amount of blood with the feces I also have ulcerative colitis could this possibly just be a flare up or something more serious?

  2. Thanks for letting me know that I will be subjected to embarrassing questions and tormented by an even more embarrassing examination. Can’t wait to call my physician now.

  3. whenever I go to the toilets it hurts and when i wipe i find blood on the tissue paper. pleases help, i try to go to the toilet twice a day and such always happen and make me not to wanna go to the toilet again as my anus will be hot and painful.

  4. Hi, I’m a 12 yr old female who hasn’t had her period yet. After, I urinated I wiped and noticed there was blood on the toilet paper. However, none in the urine itself. Since, I hadn’t had my period yet, I thought that could be the case so, I looked up symptoms and what I had was not in there. My boobs have grown for a few years and I’ve discharge. So, I left it alone, but it happened every time I urinated and I kept getting more worried. What should I do now?

    • I am overweight and had no serious accidents or anything. Also the blood is coming from my vagina. Plz help

    • Do you have an adult female you could consult, perhaps your mother? It could still be your period. Periods are not the same for everyone and not everyone has symptoms. I know it can be intimidating and even a bit embarrassing, but ask an adult female. If it’s not your period, you should consult a doctor.

  5. There A Possibility I Might Be Pregnant I Haven’t Had My Period In A Month and Amost a Half And I Recently Went To The Restroom To Do #2 and When I Wiped There Was Blood .. I’m Wondering if I Am Preganant Will The Baby Be Okay ?

    • Have you had your pregnancy confirmed? You will definitely want to first determine if you are indeed pregnant and if so, then schedule an appointment with an OB to get things checked out.

  6. I told my mom and see was going to call the doctor because the white sticky stuff came out of me (not clear) and when I wipe blood is in the tissue but when I pes no blood

  7. Thank you!!!!!! I was scared to death for days wiping and seeing blood. I thought oh my God I have cancer or something horrible. Then I read your article and I fit a few on the list. I recently had back surgery and have been sitting a lot, I don’t eat enough fiber, I don’t drink enough water, I have been constipated for weeks..etc. I cannot thank enough for whomever put this up for people not to think the worst. Bless your hearts and your research you guys do at Ohio. – Tracey

  8. What happens if i bleed every few times i wipe but its light blood but when ever i wipe i feel a bump from my hole and i dont know what it is can someone help me

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