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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

When to Call A Doctor

Call your doctor promptly whenever you have rectal bleeding or any bloody discharge from the anus. Even if you have been treated for a bleeding fissure in the past, it is always safer for your doctor to determine the best course of action. This is especially true if you are over age 40, when there is an increase in the risk of rectal bleeding from colorectal cancer and other serious digestive diseases.

Also, call your doctor if you have:

  • Severe pain in the anal area

  • A tender mass or swelling near the anus, with or without a fever

  • Pus or a foul-smelling discharge from the anus

  • Discomfort or tightness in the anal area that interferes with bowel movements

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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