Black and Tarry Stools: Causes, Treatment, and More

Looking down into the gutter bowl and seeing dope that looks a bit unlike than usual can be a little nerve-racking — but it isn ’ thymine always cause for alarm clock. If you ’ ve noticed your stools are looking black and tarry, it could be connected to a more serious issue like bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract. But it could besides be due to certain things you ’ ve been eating. Read on for some of the reasons your stern might be taking on a dark imbue, and when to talk with a doctor.

Dark-colored foods

sometimes, the simplest argue is the actual argue : If you ’ ve noticed your crap has gone from its usual brown to a black color, it could be ascribable to the sorts of foods you ’ ve been eating. This is particularly true if you haven ’ thyroxine noticed any extra gastrointestinal symptoms. Some foods that can turn your stern black :

  • black licorice
  • blueberries
  • dark chocolate cookies

Iron supplements

many people take iron supplements for anemia, a circumstance in which an individual ’ randomness lineage has a lower-than-normal total of red rake cells, causing feelings of fatigue and weakness. These supplements can have a few english effects, including

  • nausea
  • constipation
  • black stools

If you take iron supplements and are having issues with side effects, talk with your doctor of the church. There are a few different types of iron supplements, and some may be easier on your digest than others .

Medicines containing bismuth

Medicines containing bismuth subsalicylate — like Pepto-Bismol — can turn your stools black. Ingesting besides much bismuth subsalicylate over a elongated period of time can besides turn your tongue and tooth black .


Ulcers are clear sores on the line of the digestive tract. While they ’ rhenium not always irritating, they can cause :

  • a burning sensation in the stomach
  • indigestion
  • heartburn
  • a general feeling of being unwell

When ulcers start to bleed, they can create more hard symptoms, including black, “ awkward, ” pitchy stools ( which are dark in color due to blood mixing with digestive fluids ). Because this is a more hard symptom, you should talk with your doctor ASAP if these dark stools are accompanied by any of the manifestations above .

Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding

In addition to ulcers, there are a few other conditions that can cause bleed in the upper GI tract, which in turn can lead to black, tarry stools. Black stools caused by these kinds of upper GI issues are sometimes referred to as melena. A few of these conditions include :

  • gastritis
  • esophagitis
  • Mallory-Weiss syndrome
  • esophageal or stomach cancer

many of these conditions are serious and include a host of early gastrointestinal symptoms. If your stools have been black and pitchy for a few days, and are accompanied by digest aches and vomit, you should seek checkup aid immediately .

Esophageal varices

The esophagus is a tube that carries foods and liquids to the stomach. When veins inside the esophagus become swell — a condition normally connected to cirrhosis or other advance liver diseases — they can occasionally rupture and cause both red, bally stools, or blacken, loiter stools. It ’ mho important to call your doctor immediately if you are already aware that you are living with liver-colored disease, and start to experience black stools along with :

  • muscle cramps
  • stomach discomfort
  • rapid weight loss
  • jaundice

How is the cause of black stools diagnosed?

If your symptoms are not dangerous adequate to warrant a hospital visit, your doctor of the church will probably ask about your checkup history and perform a physical examination to try to determine the cause of your unusual stool color. They ’ ll probably arrange lineage tests and a stool sample, and may besides suggest imaging ( like X-rays ) to see the inside of your digestive nerve pathway. Your repair may besides schedule a gastroscopy or colonoscopy to assess the stipulate of your gut.

A colonoscopy is frequently performed while you ’ re under sedation. Your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube through your anus into the rectum with a camera on the end to see the inside of your colon and look for the cause of your symptoms. A gastroscopy is exchangeable in nature to a colonoscopy but focuses on the esophagus, stomach, and little intestine. The thin tube is inserted through your throat, quite than the anus.

What are the treatment options for black stools?

Treating black stool varies according to what is causing the circumstance. If you notice that you ’ ve been eating a bunch of blueberries, blackberries, and early black foods, limit your inhalation for a few days and see if it makes a deviation. The same goes for iron supplements and medicines containing bismuth subsalicylate : If you think your black stools may be connected to taking either of these, talk with your doctor about safe alternatives. Ulcers can have different causes, but milder forms are normally treated by :

  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce the amount of acid in your stomach so the ulcers can heal
  • H2 receptor antagonists, which also reduce the amount of acid in the stomach
  • over-the-counter antacids
  • reduced use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

operating room is besides an option for more austere cases of bleeding ulcers. If your black stools are due to a circumstance that is causing upper GI run, your discussion will vary depending on the badness of the condition. Don ’ t wait to talk with your doctor of the church if your black, tarry stools are accompanied by gastrointestinal discomfort or other acute symptoms — make an date right away or head to the nearest erbium.


Black stools can be caused by a variety of issues, from eating excessively much black licorice to bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract. The key to identifying how serious your condition is are the early symptoms that are present. If you are experiencing nausea, stomach upset, dizziness, or abdominal pain along with black stools, contact your doctor cursorily .

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Category : Health

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