What Causes Black Stool And Stomach Pain – Black stool is not always caused by a major problem. There are many reasons stool can appear black, and iron supplements or coffee may also be to blame. This is especially true for people who have had an ostomy or colectomy, as food is not digested as completely as people who have not had stomach surgery. However, if you’ve had gastrointestinal bleeding in the past, there’s a bad smell, or the problem lasts longer than a few days, that’s a good enough reason to see your doctor.
Bleeding in the upper part of your digestive system can cause black stools. Ulcers or other forms of irritation in your esophagus or stomach known as gastritis can often cause bleeding. When blood mixes with digestive fluids, it takes on the appearance of tar. Certain medications can also cause black stools. Iron supplements and bismuth-based medications, for example, can darken your stool. Sometimes, serious blood and circulation abnormalities in your digestive system can cause black stools. This can include the following:
- 1 What Causes Black Stool And Stomach Pain
- 2 Causes Of Yellow Stool: What It Means, Treatment, And More
- 3 Gastroparesis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
- 4 Blood In Baby Stool: When To Seek Care, Causes, And Treatments
What Causes Black Stool And Stomach Pain
Red or bloody stools can also be caused by a number of different conditions. Your stool may be bloody due to bleeding in the lower part of your digestive system. Cancerous or benign polyps in your colon can produce gastrointestinal bleeding in some cases. Inflammatory bowel diseases such as diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease can cause you to pass bright red or maroon blood in your stool. A common cause of bloody stools is the presence of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located in your rectum or anus. Straining to pass a bowel movement can cause bleeding. A blockage at any time in your digestive tract can cause black, tarry or bloody stools.
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The foods you eat can cause your stool to appear bloody, black, or streaky. Eating red or black foods can give your stool a dark color without the presence of blood. The following can discolor your bowel movements:
Black stools are a worrisome symptom because they may be caused by a large amount of bleeding into the GI tract, often from the upper GI tract including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Red blood cells are broken down by digestive enzymes in the intestines and turn stools black. These stools tend to linger (sticky), and smell very foul. This can be a medical emergency and black stools should not be ignored. Blood from a nosebleed or from a dental procedure or mouth injury can be swallowed and may be the cause of black stools.
The treatment of bloody, black stools or stools varies according to the cause of the problem. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer patients with hemorrhoids can make it easier to pass stool and reduce bleeding by using a stool softener as directed by a doctor. A sitz bath can also relieve hemorrhoid pain and prevent bleeding. Your doctor may prescribe acid-reducing medications to treat bleeding ulcers. Antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs can also calm inflammatory bowel disease and infections. Vein abnormalities and blockages may require surgical repair if bleeding does not stop on its own. If you have lost a lot of blood through your stool, you may be at risk for anemia. You may need a blood transfusion to replenish your supply of red blood cells.
Consult your doctor if you are concerned about the color of your stool. If your stool is bright red or black, which may indicate the presence of blood, seek immediate medical attention.
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Is a trusted resource for patients to find the best doctors in their area. Visible and accessible with your up-to-date contact information, verified patient reviews and online appointment booking functionality. Melena refers to black stools that occur as a result of gastrointestinal bleeding. This bleeding usually originates in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. In some cases, bleeding in the ascending colon, which is located in the lower GI tract, can also result in melena.
Melena should not be confused with hematochezia, which refers to fresh blood in the stool leading to maroon or red-colored stools. This blood usually comes from the lower GI tract, often from rectal bleeding, such as hemorrhoids.
Melena appears as a black, tar-like, sticky stool. The black color is caused by enzymes that break down and digest the blood as it moves through the GI tract. This color is often accompanied by a strong and foul smell.
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The most common cause of melena is peptic ulcer disease, where painful ulcers or sores develop in the stomach or small intestine. This can be caused by an infection
), which causes inflammation of the stomach known as gastritis, leading to high acid secretion that damages the mucosa and can lead to the development of ulcers. Similarly, chronic use of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also cause gastritis and resulting ulcers in the GI tract.
Damage to the GI tract can result from a variety of other conditions, such as a Mallory–Weiss tear, which refers to a tear or wound and bleeding in the lower esophagus that is usually caused by excessive vomiting. Additionally, conditions related to excess acid production, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause severe inflammation of the esophagus known as erosive esophagitis, which in turn can cause ulcers and bleeding as a result. In some cases, GI bleeding can also indicate tumor progression, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, carcinoid tumor, and lipoma.
Swollen blood vessels, or varicose veins, can also cause upper GI bleeding. This most often occurs with portal hypertension, which refers to increased blood pressure in the portal vein. Liver disease such as cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, can cause blockage of blood flow through the liver, thus causing blood to back up into the portal vein, which then leads to increased pressure or portal hypertension. Increased pressure can cause esophageal and gastric varices, which are fragile and bleed easily.
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Blood disorders characterized by excessive bleeding and frequent bruising, such as hemophilia and thrombocytopenia, can also contribute to bleeding in the GI tract.
Symptoms that may be seen with melena vary depending on the amount of blood loss and the cause of the bleeding. Significant blood loss can cause symptoms of low blood volume, anemia, or shock, such as weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, dryness, dizziness, confusion, and tachycardia or rapid heartbeat.
Individuals with mild blood loss often only experience symptoms related to the cause of the bleeding. If the bleeding occurs in the small intestine, the individual may experience abdominal pain. Bleeding from the mouth, esophagus, or stomach often results in painful swallowing, indigestion, or vomiting blood (also referred to as hematemesis).
If melena is accompanied by shock symptoms, it can be a sign of active bleeding. In such cases, it is considered a medical emergency and it is important to seek medical attention immediately. On the other hand, cases without significant shock symptoms should seek medical attention if melena persists beyond 5 to 7 days.
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Diagnosis or treatment begins with identifying the source of the bleeding to determine and treat the underlying cause. Assessment of the individual’s medical history is performed to identify associated causes, such as chronic NSAID use. Nasogastric lavage (also known as gastric emptying) can be used to determine the severity of blood loss and to prepare the GI tract for endoscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure used to look inside the body. An upper endoscopy will often be done to determine the exact cause of the bleeding.
Drug therapy with proton pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole or pantoprazole, can help reduce acid production, which promotes peptic ulcer healing and thus reduces the risk of recurrent bleeding. Proton pump inhibitors, along with antibiotics, can also be used to treat
If necessary, bleeding can be controlled through combined endoscopic therapy. The most commonly performed endoscopic therapy is injection therapy, where medication is injected directly into the source of bleeding to promote coagulation (blood clotting). It is often combined with other endoscopic therapies, such as a thermal technique that uses a heat probe to burn the bleeding, or a mechanical technique that uses pressure, using devices such as clips or rubber band ligation.
In some cases, angiographic embolization may be performed, where drugs or coils are placed on a guided catheter to block blood flow at the site of bleeding. Surgical therapy can also be used to suture ulcers or wounds. Finally, severe cases may require a blood transfusion.
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Depending on the amount of blood loss and gastrointestinal motility of the individual, melena can persist for up to 5 days after the bleeding stops.
Melena refers to black, tar-like, sticky stools and is usually caused by upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The source of bleeding can come from damage to the lining of the GI tract, rupture of swollen blood
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