There are three leading reasons for black stools: Food, consumable products, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
The last is the most serious. If the black stool contains blood or if you show other signs of bleeding, get help from a professional healthcare provider immediately.
Foods that turn stools black include black licorice, blood sausage, and blueberries. Products include iron health supplements and bismuth subsalicylate, a pharmaceutical drug for indigestion that goes by the brand name Pepto-Bismol.
A person who ate any of these foods or took iron supplements may rest assured that his black stool didn't stem from a health issue. He may want to stop taking Pepto-Bismol, though, as the antacid displays side effects like constipation and diarrhea. (Related: Upset stomach? Here’s what to eat, and what not to eat.)
Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract – the pathway of food through the body – is a different and severe matter. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) explains that this condition leads to black stools that resemble tar.
There are many culprits for bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. They range from minor to major health issues.
The first possible condition is angiodysplasia. It features unnatural arrangements of blood vessels in the mucous membrane of the tract.
Next is a more severe issue. The gastrointestinal tract may develop tumors in the esophagus, stomach, colon, or rectum.
The tumor may be benign or malignant. If the former, it will not spread, although it may reach a considerable size. If the latter, it is a cancerous formation.
Both benign and malignant tumors will undermine the gastrointestinal wall. The weakened wall will bleed, turning stools black.
Ulcerative colitis is a third possible cause of black stools. A chronic inflammatory disease that affects the large intestine, it causes the formation of open sores or ulcers.
Health experts remain baffled regarding the ultimate cause of ulcerative colitis. Thankfully, it is a treatable condition.
Number four on the list is colon polyp. It is a small growth that appears in the large intestine.
Like tumors, colon polyps are not automatically cancerous. However, they may become malignant as time passes by. Additionally, both types of polyps will cause bleeding in the large intestine.
The esophagus and the stomach may also experience health problems that lead to bleeding, thereby turning stools black.
Esophageal varices are swollen veins in the esophagus. They appear in response to smoking and liver cirrhosis.
Meanwhile, a person who often suffers from an acid reflux attack may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The condition comes from taking pharmaceutical drugs, smoking, or excessive pressure placed on the abdomen due to pregnancy or obesity.
GERD may be prevented or managed. Avoid foods that trigger acid reflux. Furthermore, consume moderate amounts and never overeat.
Stomach ulcers make up the last potential cause of black stools. An ulcerated stomach lining releases blood alongside the digested food, which turns the poop black in color.
If a person suffers from bloating, constant burping, lack of appetite, loss of weight, vomiting, and a dull yet painful burning sensation in the stomach, he may have an ulcerated stomach.
Possible causes include pharmaceutical drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as bacterial infections.
It's important to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Visit Health.news to learn more.