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Doctor insights on: What Does Black Tarry Stool Mean

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When people say tarry stool, they mean black, right? So it's not a GI bleed if if diarrhea looks pretty much like tar but is just very dark brown?

When people say tarry stool, they mean black, right? So it's not a GI bleed if if diarrhea looks pretty much like tar but is just very dark brown?

Dark-colored stool: Dark-colored stools may result from iron supplements, foods you eat (like a lot of spinach), substances (like peptobismol), but most significantly suggests bleeding. When blood is denatured by acid in your stomach, as from ulcers, stools will turn tarry ("melena"). Blood may also be ingested from nose bleeds, bleeding gums. Silver-colored stool suggests bleeding from the biliary tree. Get checked. ...Read more

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Dr. Adam Levy
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Dr. Michael Gabor
280 doctors shared insights

Melena (Definition)

Melena is also known as Black stool. Melina is blood in the stool that is black, tarry, sticky, and smelly. The blood in melena comes from high up in the gastrointestinal tract, and gets partially digested which is why it changes to melena. Bright red blood comes from lower ...Read more


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What is meant by a black or tarry stool?

What is meant by a black or tarry stool?

Agree w Dr. Hemming: If stool is black, tarry and has a foul odor - this could be melena which is due to GI bleeding. Seek prompt medical attention if that the case. ...Read more

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Dr. Adam Levy
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What does it mean if you have black stools?

What does it mean if you have  black stools?

Dark-colored stool: Dark-colored stools may result from iron supplements, foods you eat (like a lot of spinach), substances (like peptobismol), but most significantly suggests bleeding. When blood is denatured by acid in your stomach, as from ulcers, stools will turn tarry ("melena"). Blood may also be ingested from nose bleeds, bleeding gums. Silver-colored stool suggests bleeding from the biliary tree. Get checked. ...Read more

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Dr. Adam Levy
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What does it mean if I have black stools?

What does it mean if I have black stools?

Blood or iron: Vitamines containin iron, iron tablets, and pepto bismol can all cause black stools. Bleeding in the stomach can also cause black stools. ...Read more

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I have had black stools. What is going on and what does this mean?

Bleeding?: It may represent bleeding somewhere in your GI tract so go see your doctor. ...Read more

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What does "tarry stool" mean?

What does "tarry stool" mean?

Black like tar: Or melena, usually indicates there may be a bleeding site from your upper GI tract that the blood on exposure to stomach acid turns tarry black. This needs prompt attention to diagnosis and treatment. ...Read more

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What to do if I have black stools, what does it mean?

Nothing or something: Many things turn stool black - like iron pills or bismuth (pepto bismal). So, unless it is a continuing problem, don't worry. However, blood from the upper intestine - stomach ulcer, polyp, inflammation does cause the stool to be black. If it is a continuing problem, see a doctor. Tests like an upper GI series or an upper endoscopy can easily detect a problem. Peter wilk, md. ...Read more

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What does it mean when you have black stool?

What does it mean when you have black stool?

Could be blood: Black stool, especially if it has a tarry consistency, could be a sign of blood in the stool. Medications, such as pepto-bismol, can also turn stool black. Just to be sure, you should see your doctor to check for the presence of blood in the stool. ...Read more

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What could it mean when you have black stool?

Black stools could: Be related to medicines/ vitamins such as peptobismol or iron. However, black, tarry, malodorous stools are like melena (gi bleeding). This would warrant medical evaluation. ...Read more

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Dr. Irina Medwin
115 doctors shared insights

Black Stool (Definition)

Black stool is a symptom in which a person's stool (poop) has a black color, or sometimes a very dark red color. Black stools are usually due to old blood (fresh bleeding ...Read more


Feces (Definition)

Feces is the product of ...Read more


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Dr. Adam Levy
Board Certified, Obstetrics and Gynecology
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