Should I Be Alarmed About Blood in My Stool?

Discovering blood in your stool is understandably alarming. The sight of red blood in the toilet bowl is enough to send many people into a panic. But like all potential medical concerns, it’s important to remain calm — the underlying cause is likely treatable and not serious. However, you will need to consult a medical professional to diagnose your condition and ensure that the underlying cause is not life-threatening. 

In this article, we discuss the possible causes of blood in stool and when you should seek medical attention. For a colorectal surgeon in Tampa who can diagnose and treat your condition, schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D.  

Possible Causes

There are a number of conditions that could lead to blood in stool. These conditions range from mild to serious and may require medication, a unique diet, or colorectal surgery in Tampa. Here are just a few potential causes. Keep in mind that you should seek immediate medical attention if you have significant rectal bleeding and are experiencing difficulty breathing, dizziness, confusion, nausea, or cold and clammy skin. 


Hemorrhoids form when veins in the rectum become enlarged or inflamed. They are the most common cause of rectal bleeding and can be located internally or externally. While hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, today’s medical advancements allow for their effective removal through a procedure known as a hemorrhoidectomy

Anal Fistula 

Like hemorrhoids, an anal fistula is a structural disorder of the colon and rectum. An anal fistula forms when an infection leads to the forming of a tunnel between the anus and skin. Unlike hemorrhoids, fistulas do not recover on their own and will need to be treated with colorectal surgery in Tampa

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

One potential cause of anal fistulas is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), inflammation occurring within the small or large intestine. There are several types of IBD, including Chrohn’s disease, that occur when the body mistakenly targets harmless bacteria. While not normally life-threatening, IBD can lead to serious complications if left untreated, including colon cancer, bowel obstructions, and blood clots. 


Despite popular belief, peptic ulcers are actually caused by bacteria and certain medications, not stress. Ulcers usually cause abdominal pain; however, rectal bleeding is another potential symptom. Ulcers are usually treated without surgery, but it’s important to consult a medical professional who can create a treatment plan and help prevent additional ulcers. 

Colorectal Cancer 

This is why it’s so important to have your condition diagnosed by a trained medical professional. While your condition may very well be caused by one of the above conditions, there’s always a chance that it’s something serious and life-threatening. Colorectal cancer occurs when cancerous polyps form in the colon or rectum. These polyps have the potential to bleed, which leads to the alarming sight of blood in stool. While polyps are not always cancerous, it’s nonetheless important to have them removed in order to prevent cancer. 

When to Seek Treatment 

If you have discovered blood in your stool or are experiencing rectal bleeding, you should not panic; you should be proactive. All of the above conditions can be treated with medication, diet, or surgery. But they have another thing in common: they can all be treated by Dr. Clark. As a colorectal surgeon in Tampa, Dr. Clark specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the colon and rectum. If you are concerned with blood in your stool, don’t be alarmed. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Clark today. 

To learn more about colorectal surgery in Tampa, or to schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., please request an appointment today.

Disclaimer:The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Whalen Clark, M.D. website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services of Whalen Clark, M.D. or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. 

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Whalen Clark, M.D. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Whalen Clark, M.D. is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

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