Top 8 Black Stool Causes
1. Bleeding Ulcer
A bleeding ulcer happens when the digestive tract contains too much acid or too little mucus, and the acid erodes the lining of the stomach or small intestine to cause an open sore. The blood released by an ulcer can mix with regular stool to cause blackened stool that has a sticky consistency. Treating the ulcer can stop the bleeding and prevent black stool.
2. Dark-Colored Foods
Foods that are naturally dark-colored or darkened with food coloring can cause black stool: blueberries, blood sausage, dark chocolate, and black licorice. Evaluating the diet and eliminating black-colored foods can help determine whether these black foods have caused black stool. Any food that is black, dark blue, or dark green could produce black stool.
Gastritis is inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can be caused by stress, chronic vomiting, excessive alcohol intake, and the use of medications, such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs. Bacterial and viral infections, bile reflux, and bacteria called Helicobacter pylori are other common causes of gastritis.
Symptoms of gastritis include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating, and black, tarry stool. Treatment for gastritis might include avoiding foods such as dairy and alcohol, which drive inflammation, or using medications that reduce or neutralize stomach acid.
4. Esophageal Varices
Esophageal varices are enlarged or swollen veins on the lining of the esophagus. These veins might slowly leak blood or suddenly rupture to cause severe and life-threatening bleeding. With severe cases of bleeding from esophageal varices, a person can vomit large amounts of blood. Those who experience less severe bleeding from this condition could swallow and digest the blood, causing black stool.
Esophageal varices can be the result of blood clots, parasitic infection, cirrhosis of the liver, and any other type of serious liver disease. People with this condition can prevent instances of bleeding by using medications that lower blood pressure, avoiding alcohol, and eating healthy whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
5. Mallory-Weiss Tear
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- National Library of Medicine. Gastrointestinal Bleeding. https://medlineplus.gov/gastrointestinalbleeding.html
- National Library of Medicine. Black or tarry stools. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003130.htm
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Gastritis. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gastritis
- National Library of Medicine. Gastritis: How can you prevent painkiller-related peptic ulcers? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0078823/
- National Library of Medicine. Bleeding esophageal varices. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000268.htm
- National Library of Medicine. Primary prevention of bleeding from esophageal varices in patients with liver cirrhosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081611/
- National Library of Medicine. Mallory-Weiss tear. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000269.htm
- National Library of Medicine. Taking Iron Supplements. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007478.htm
- State of Connecticut. Bleeding and Wounds. http://www.ct.gov/dds/lib/dds/factsheets/fs_bleeding_and_wounds.pdf
- National Library of Medicine. Bismuth, Metronidazole, and Tetracycline. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601028.html