Black stool signs, symptoms, causes, treatment

Black Stool: When to Worry? See Its Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Black stool! Eww… it sounds gross, and talking about it can be embarrassing, but it is a natural phenomena, and hiding it to oneself can only make the matter worse, sometimes even detrimental.  There’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s reckless to not share about the problem and seek help!

Last month, I got a call from one of my close friends telling me that she won’t be able to attend our class re-union. Well, I blasted out at her as she was the one who actually set the date. When asked for the reason, she hesitated and said that it was just because of her busy schedule. I didn’t give up as I was certain that, that was not the case. Finally, she shared that she was not feeling well and had to go to hospital the previous day. The reason was chronic gastritis. She had noticed the change in her stool from brown to black but as expected she found it embarrassing to share about it with her parents. For two weeks, she kept on hiding about it. Consequently, her body gave up. She started vomiting with intolerable abdominal pain and was rushed to the emergency. The doctor was mad at her for not informing about it at its early stage when the problem could have been prevented with easy home remedies or mild medication.

Lesson learned! It is only wise to tackle any problem at its budding stage, and to do so, it is necessary to know the early signs and symptoms of any disease, like in my friend’s case, ‘black stool.’

What is Black Stool?

In simple words, black stool is a condition when there is a change in the color of stool from normal color to black. Change in the color of the stool may have various reasons. A black stool is not only caused by serious medical conditions but also may be due to consumption of the foods like blueberries, black licorice, spicy foods, substances like iron supplements or also because of the medicines like Pepto-Bismol.

So, When to Worry?

Ok! So if you can trace back the foods that you have consumed for the reason of the black stool, then it’s fine. If it is not persistent, then also, it’s fine. BUT…if it is constant with accompanying symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea and dizziness, then, it’s an alert for you to consult your medical service provider.

Causes for Black Stool

  • Foods like blueberries, black licorice, spicy foods, substances like iron supplements,
  • food dyes (especially red, green, purple),
  • hemorrhoids,
  • bleeding in the stomach,
  • bleeding in the lower parts of the intestines or colon,
  • biliary obstruction,
  • tumor,
  • cystic fibrosis,
  • chronic pancreatitis,
  • obstruction in the pancreatic duct
  • celiac disease,
  • viral infections,
  • Internal sore,
  • Internal bleeding,
  • weight loss medications that limit the amount of fat absorbed by the intestines, and
  • diarrhea.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common signs and symptoms of black stool includes:

  • abdominal pain and cramping,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea,
  • weakness,
  • Poor appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • foul-smelling stool,
  • dizziness.

How is it Diagnosed?

Above given symptoms may help you to determine whether you have to really worry regarding the change in the color of your stool or not. However, the mentioned symptoms can be an alert for some other health problems as well. So, it is advised to consult the medical professional for proper and accurate diagnosis. A stool test is generally carried out to determine the cause of black stool which could be due to serious medical condition like intestinal obstruction, ulcers, gastritisparasitic infection, hemorrhoids, or Crohn’s disease. do some tests to diagnose.

What is the Treatment?

If black stool is caused because of the change in your diet, you can avoid those dishes for a while. Increase fiber loaded foods like whole grain, beans, and raspberries in your diet can result in black stool. These foods will help with the proper functioning of bowel movements. Medical help is necessary if your black stool is accompanied with your deteriorating health. Doctors may recommend colonoscopy or endoscopy in order to check for bleeding sources, polyps or any tears. Treatment of the black stool problem varies from simple diet change to prescription of antibiotics, surgery as well as removal of polyps.

Most of the times, people tend to ignore the problem of black stool not knowing its seriousness, or keep it to themselves because of the shame. But it’s important to keep in mind that, when unchecked in time, this simple change in the color of our daily waste can invite other severe health problems.

For more detailed information, see full video below:


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