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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes black tarry stool?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 24 Sep 2016 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: my roommate has ulcers and has had 3 trans fusions in last 15 yrs. hes =never seen a doctor except at the emergency room. he says they aren't in stomach but from acid reflex. he lives on zantac. he is having an episode now and doesn't want to go to the hospital yet. hes been down for 21/2 days now. eating an antibiotic and hydrocodone for pain. what can i do. they are bleeding in his stool. stool is not solid though. water in toilet is black
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Time to go to the ER:

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

Your roommate definitely needs to go to the ER. Black tarry stools are a sign of bleeding in the stomach (or above the stomach). The acid in the stomach acts on the blood to make it look black. It can also be vomited up looking like coffee grounds. If bleeding is very brisk, then it just comes out of the rectum looking like bright red blood. He should NOT wait for that to happen as a hemorrhage like that can be hard to stop in time. He needs to go in now, especially with a history of ulcers and needing transfusions. He may think he doesn't need to go in "yet", but getting it sooner than a full out crisis could keep him from ending up very ill with a long recovery time (or worse).
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 2 hours later
thank you i took him to er they kept him and gave him 3 bags of blood. will do a scope tomorrow am. thanks again

he gets this problem because of his teeth, he has very bad teeth that cause infections. which sets off the ulcer problem. his teeth cost 11,000 to fix. he doesnt have that kind of money. what options does he have to get his teeth fixed cheaper or what can we do to keep him from tooth aches and infections
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 10 hours later
Brief Answer:
Consider a dental school for inexpensive dental work.

Detailed Answer:
I'm very glad you took him in - he must have lost a lot of blood to have had to receive that many units of blood.

Some places have community dental clinics that are either free or low cost.

Also, he can find the nearest dental school (usually associated with a large university) where they may do repairs for free. When I was in medical school at University of Illinois, I went to our school's dental clinic and a dental student did the work under the supervision of a teaching dentist. It was available to anyone who was willing to have a student rather than a full dentist do the actual work. The student did a goo job and I paid very little if anything at all. I don't know how feasible that is for your roommate, but perhaps he can go to the city that has a dental school and stay a few days at an inexpensive place like a youth hostel, while they do the repairs. Here is a place to start for finding a dental school near you: https://www.verywell.com/free-dental-work-0000?utm_term=Texas+Dental+Association&utm_content=p1-main-1-title&utm_medium=sem-rel&utm_source=msn_s&utm_campaign=adid-7bdf013a-44cb-4280-b3ef-abb175c6170d-0-ab_msb_ocode-35508&ad=semD&an=msn_s&am=broad&q=Texas+Dental+Association&o=35508&qsrc=6&l=&askid=7bdf013a-44cb-4280-b3ef-abb175c6170d-0-ab_msb

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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