How urgently do I need to see a doctor?
September 27, 2013 7:01 AM   Subscribe

YANMD. You may not even be a doctor. I was out on a 10 mile run this morning; at the end of the run, I realized that I had blood dripping down both my legs, stemming from a mole on my inner left thigh.

Aside from the complete embarrassment of running for almost two hours looking like I had some sort of menstruation accident, how concerned should I be about this? I have had some moles removed in the past for cosmetic reasons, but I've never had one that changed color, size, etc. The blood was coming from a mole that looks perfectly normal in size, shape, etc.

It was still bleeding after I took a shower and cleaned up, but seems to not be bleeding now under a Band-Aid.

I will eventually get this checked out, but do I need to do it now? I'm just under two weeks out from my marathon and don't have a ton of free time or money.
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Best answer: I would never advise you not to get it checked out, moles can be really serious business (one of my friends had an innocuous mole that turned out to be nasty cancer) and I am not a medical professional.

However, my husband had a "mole" that turned out to be a cluster of blood vessels. He went to have it checked out when it got bigger and darker and the dermatologist removed it because he said that although relatively harmless, if it got caught on something it would bleed a lot.
posted by Kimberly at 7:09 AM on September 27, 2013

Get it checked out if only to ask the doctor for a recommendation on how to keep it from bleeding during the marathon.
posted by Etrigan at 7:10 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I kinda suspect if it somehow managed to get on both legs that the problem here is more friction-related. I would personally, under the circumstances, be inclined to try some of the usual solutions for thigh chafing and see how it heals up, unless you're quite sure it's just that mole. That said, yeah, a marathon is probably only going to be worse, so you'll probably want to do something about it sooner than later.
posted by Sequence at 7:11 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You'll be amazed at how easy, fast, and cheaply little things like that can be excised. A healed incision is going to be a lot less trouble than a bleeding mole.

Go to the doctor soon. Dermatologists will see you quickly when you say "mole that started bleeding".
posted by Kakkerlak at 7:15 AM on September 27, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I'll just book an appointment for this weekend. I thought it was chafing, too, until I got in the shower and nothing hurt like chafing does, and the blood was coming directly from the one site.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:17 AM on September 27, 2013

I have one of those "moles" that Kimberly mentions (I can't find the note I made to myself about it after the dermatologist looked at it, so I don't remember what it's called)--I waited a good 7-8 months of spouse-nagging before I saw the doctor about it with no ill effects (and pretty much no outcome other than information from the doctor). Mine never bled, however, despite being regularly rubbed by my bra strap. But if I were you, I would take Etrigan's advice to prep for my race with the caveat that I had a suspicious mole removed from my leg in college and had to have stitches, which probably would not have been up to marathon running. If they want to remove it, I would ask if you can postpone until after the race, and ask about preventing irritation during your run.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:17 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

You should definitely go as soon as you can. My dermatologist told me that legs are the most common area for melanoma to start in women. You don't want to mess around with that stuff.
posted by something something at 7:21 AM on September 27, 2013

Yes, get it checked out.

That being said, moles can bleed like the dickens if you accidentally scratch them so I wouldn't be super alarmed yet.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:23 AM on September 27, 2013

Skin Tags. Relatively harmless to damage, but bleed dramatically when they get cut. Often found in the groin.

Regardless, getting it checked is a great idea.
posted by bonehead at 7:35 AM on September 27, 2013

Do get it checked asap. But also make sure to tell them your marathon plans before you let them do any cutting. Obviously if it was something serious it would be better to get it cut out and skip the marathon, but even if it's minor they might still offer to excise the thing. If you get stitches, they probably won't want you to run for 2 weeks or so.
posted by vytae at 8:03 AM on September 27, 2013

I had a sebhorreic keratosis on my thigh and I was amazed at how much blood came out of it with the tiniest of cuts. Get it checked out, though. The risk is just too high to not have suspicious moles checked.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:36 AM on September 27, 2013

The cluster of blood vessels-type mole is called an angioma, IIRC. When mine started bleeding I waited too long to go to the doc, so I couldn't have it stitched and it had to be cauterized instead. Yuck. Glad you're going to the doc!
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2013

Bleeding mole COULD be a sign of melanoma or skin cancer. Like you said, it could just be chafing as well. I'd call a dermatologist, tell them you have a bleeding mole and I'm sure they will see you quickly.

Per the advice above, do tell them if you have plans to run in a marathon. My dermatologist wanted to remove a mole from my pelvis by cutting it out, but I wouldn't have been able to run for weeks. They shaved it instead, tested it and it wasn't cancer but they wanted all the cells gone so they followed up with an even deeper shave -- no stitches required.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:23 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

DEFINITELY go to the doc, but don't freak out. I had a mole that started bleeding BECAUSE of chafing -- it was right where the band of my bra hit it, under my arm -- and they loped it off and tested it and it was totally fine. Don't panic.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:13 PM on September 27, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks. I made an appointment for my GP next weekend. (I was unable to get in somewhere else sooner.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2013

Look at the mole. If it has an irregular shape or has tendrils sticking out, it may be melanoma, and you need to go to the Emergency Room RIGHT NOW. Melanoma spreads fast. A single day can make a big difference.
posted by KRS at 3:19 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: FYI: I asked this question a few weeks ago. I was able to see a dermatologist who took a biopsy and pronounced everything completely normal. And, I was able to complete both the Hartford Marathon and the NYC Marathon without worrying about my leg. Thanks to everyone who helped me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

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