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What causes black stool?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16699 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 7 Jun 2016 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: My feces have become black in color whereas they were previously medium brown; I had a colonoscopy about 18 months ago and it was clear.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
may be due to iron, bismuth meds, or bleeding from upper gi tract

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

The colonoscopy done 18 months ago would rule out more serious causes such as cancer of the colon

Other causes of black stool include: (a)use of iron supplements or meds such as pepto bismol which have in bismuth
(b)bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract such as the esophagus, stomach or small intestines eg from gastritis, ulcers of the stomach or esophagus, abnormal blood vessels

Because there is a risk that it can be associated with bleeding, it may be best if you see your doctor for assessment if it continues.

Your doctor would examine your abdomen and may also suggest blood tests such as a complete blood count to check your hemoglobin level.

Depending on the results of the examination, a look of the upper gastrointestinal tract may be needed.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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