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Cause of sudden black stools with foul smell and gas?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5368 Questions
The last three bowel movements I've had have been very very dark if not black. The smell has been quite bad and the third day I lots of gas. What would cause this all of a sudden?
Posted Sat, 8 Mar 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 32 minutes later
Brief Answer: Detailed below. Detailed Answer: Hello! Thank you for the query. Black stool (like a tar) is usually caused by bleeding from peptic ulcer. You should also notice upper middle abdominal pain and nausea. The skin can get pale, heart rate increases (over 100). If any of this symptoms are present, please contact your doctor as soon as possible. Gastroscopy should be done right away. Dark stool can also appear due to Iron supplements intake. If the stool is dark but not black, constipation, bacterial infection, hypothyroidism, medicines (ca-blockers, antidepressants) or even colon cancer can cause such symptoms. In such case, you should have stool test, thyroid tests and get scheduled for colonoscopy (it is necessary to rule out colon cancer). Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions. Regards.
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Follow-up: Cause of sudden black stools with foul smell and gas? 2 minutes later
The skin is not pale nor is has my heart rate increased. I had a colonoscopy about three years ago and it clean.
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 18 minutes later
Brief Answer: . Detailed Answer: Than colon cancer is ruled out. Bleeding is less probable (but still possible). Gastrointestinal infection seems most probable. Please start probiotic intake. You should have stool test (along with stool culture test) done. Regards.
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