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What causes dark stool?

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Posted on Mon, 30 Nov 2015
Question: HI,
I had too much to eat for breakfast yesterday morning that the bloatedness made me feel full and the monster (energy drink) I had after all caused me to feel so heavy. I decided to vomit and did so normally, nothing out of the ordinary other than some hard pushes to get it out but couldn't anymore, no bleeding either. I then had 2 gulps of Pepto Bismal and didn't eat anything all day expect for fried chicken and biscuits before bed. This morning, I found a normal, soft black stool that looked and felt tarrish that was wrapped arounnd a small instance of brown stool. I later went to the bathroom to check if it was still black and it is. The stool color is still black (tarrish), non sticky though not sure what stickiness in this case means, and it smells normal. It is non foul smelling, smells and feels normal with small grains of brown in it but not sure is this is a serious condition. I had a xanax earlier that day (presciption to adderall as well) and also had an ambien 1 1/2 last night to help me sleep. I feel completely fine, healthy and energetic, just got great results from a health screening (bloood glucose 87 mg/dl). I tend to always be worried over the smallest things (hyperchondriac) should I be worried?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No need to worry.

Detailed Answer:
Hello!

Thank you for the query.

Your stool is not black like a tar. It is just very dark, but not like when you have bleeding. So there is no reason to be worried.
Your stool looks like that most likely because of Pepto Bismol. It can make stool look like that. And there is nothing wrong with it.
As you do feel much better right now, no need to consult a doctor either. I suggest you to start probiotic intake, stop Pepto Bismol and your stool should get back to normal in few days.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (12 minutes later)
Hi Dr. Grzegorz Stanko,

Thank you for your quick reply! I'm happy to hear this as I have uploaded images that would clearly show you what my stool looks like. I've been noticing a very minor burning feeling in my rectum after I went to the bathroom and took sample images 30 minutes ago does that change anything? Also as an FYI I had protected anal sex last weekend for the first time in years and didn't notice any pain, bleeding or anything else out of the ordinary in my rectum but wanted to give you as many details as I could. I also have been eating a lot of 0% fruit flavored FAGE yogurt so my probiotic intake has been consistent for at least 2 weeks. Thank you again!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (3 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No bleeding for sure.

Detailed Answer:
The stool still looks fine. I would say its very dark green. Tar black stool is much darker for sure. And it smells like a digested iron. So bleeding is not the case for sure.
Rectal burning can be caused by the intercourse which has caused some irritation of this area. Hemorrhoids are also possible (even if you do not see them). But this is also nothing serious. If you find the burning disturbing you, you may use hemorrhoids suppositories for couple of days.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (1 hour later)
Thank you so much Doctor! I lastly just noticed that the smell of the stool is a tad bit off than normal, don't think it's like iron but a small change if any (sorta like a tarrish smell, rough, darker smell if that makes sense). It could be all in my head since it's not extremely noticeable and I really have to concentrate hard to find the difference and also generally doesn't stink up the room so the odor is not strong at all. It looks tarrish on my finger, but like you said once on toilet paper looks more like a really dark greenish. Sorry if it seems I'm trying to bring more details but I I feel like I have to get everything out so that I can continue with my day.

On a side note, are there other doctors who will respond and give their input into this discussion or it is just you? I am confident with all that you're informing me but to get more information from other doctors would help me feel better and so I would like to keep the discussion open until it closes in 2 days.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (8 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Still no need to be worried.

Detailed Answer:
You should not analyze the stool so intense. It does not give any other information. It can smell a little bit different due to Pepto Bismol. But still, if it were bleeding, you would be able to feel intense, very nasty smell. So still no reason to be worried.

If you want another doctor to put some insight into your situation you should ask another question. Otherwise its just me here in this conversation.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Grzegorz Stanko

General Surgeon

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 5769 Questions

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What causes dark stool?

Brief Answer: No need to worry. Detailed Answer: Hello! Thank you for the query. Your stool is not black like a tar. It is just very dark, but not like when you have bleeding. So there is no reason to be worried. Your stool looks like that most likely because of Pepto Bismol. It can make stool look like that. And there is nothing wrong with it. As you do feel much better right now, no need to consult a doctor either. I suggest you to start probiotic intake, stop Pepto Bismol and your stool should get back to normal in few days. Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions. Regards.