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What causes dark stools after taking Pepto?

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Posted on Mon, 18 May 2015
Question: How long can I expect very, very dark stools after taking pepto? Stomach virus caused severe dehydration 48 hours ago, requiring 3 bags of fluid at ER. Upper stomach/lower esophagus is burning/hurting, still have nausea (which is not a typical symptom for me, even with a stomach virus), and stools are very, very dark/black, and have been since yesterday. Last dose of pepto was 48 hours ago, and last dose of imodium was 24 hours ago (I took 3 doses of 2 total over about 18 hours). I have children, my spouse is out of town, and I have no family in the area, so I am very hesitant to go to the doctor unless it's absolutely necessary.

History: 5 year old son had stomach virus 48 hours before both my spouse and I came down with it. It is not suspected to be anything along the lines of c-diff or h. pylori, etc. Since the age of 19, I have had bouts of gastrointestinal issues that cause a burning sensation in a localized area of my stomach, but after 2 upper endoscopies, no conclusion was made as to the cause. This current pain is very much like the previous, however, the nausea and very, very dark/almost black stools do not typically accompany it. Is Carafate a reasonable medication to use regardless of the cause? I am not taking any other medication at this time.
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Answered by Dr. Yogesh D (9 hours later)
Brief Answer:
It will take approximately 5 days. Black stools is worrisome.

Detailed Answer:
Hello Mrs XXXXXXX

Thank you for the query, I have gone through your questions carefully and understand your concern.

The most important symptom in your case is the black stools, this indicates upper gastrointestinal bleeding. (Most likely due to an ulcer in the stomach or erosions in the gastric wall mucosa).

The best line of management is PPIs (Proton pump inhibitors) like Pantoprazole/rebeprazole intravenous injections along with oral antacids and gsatroprotective eagents such as sucralfate (carafate).

The ulcer or mucosal erosion will take at least 5 days to heal and you do need to consult your doctor to assess the severity of the gastric bleeding.

By Pepto, if you are referring to Bismuth subsalicylate, I would like to inform you that it is also used to treat acid peptic disease but the exact mechanism of action is not well understood.

But Pepto and Carafate are not sufficient in treating an active gastric ulcer or erosion, you will need stronger anti secretory medicines like pantoprazole/rabiprazole.

Please consult your doctor urgently and get yourself evaluated. The risk of not consulting the doctor is perforation of the ulcer and that can turn out be nasty.

I hope this answers your query, please feel free to write back to me if you need further clarifications.

Wishing you speedy recovery.

Best regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Yogesh D

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 1049 Questions

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What causes dark stools after taking Pepto?

Brief Answer: It will take approximately 5 days. Black stools is worrisome. Detailed Answer: Hello Mrs XXXXXXX Thank you for the query, I have gone through your questions carefully and understand your concern. The most important symptom in your case is the black stools, this indicates upper gastrointestinal bleeding. (Most likely due to an ulcer in the stomach or erosions in the gastric wall mucosa). The best line of management is PPIs (Proton pump inhibitors) like Pantoprazole/rebeprazole intravenous injections along with oral antacids and gsatroprotective eagents such as sucralfate (carafate). The ulcer or mucosal erosion will take at least 5 days to heal and you do need to consult your doctor to assess the severity of the gastric bleeding. By Pepto, if you are referring to Bismuth subsalicylate, I would like to inform you that it is also used to treat acid peptic disease but the exact mechanism of action is not well understood. But Pepto and Carafate are not sufficient in treating an active gastric ulcer or erosion, you will need stronger anti secretory medicines like pantoprazole/rabiprazole. Please consult your doctor urgently and get yourself evaluated. The risk of not consulting the doctor is perforation of the ulcer and that can turn out be nasty. I hope this answers your query, please feel free to write back to me if you need further clarifications. Wishing you speedy recovery. Best regards