When you find out that your bowel movement is black, you may find yourself in a bit of a quandary. What can be the causes of black stool in adults?
The color of the stool can vary depending on the diet, the general health of the person and the disorder or disease a person is suffering from. The normal color of the bowel movement is light brown or dark brown.
Black or dark stool can either be false melena or real melena. False melena is due to certain types of food, minerals, supplements or minerals consumed by a person. Real melena, however, is a case of dark stool where drops of blood are evident. Since the blood is not visible to the naked eye, the doctor may ask you take a medical test to establish the existence of blood in the stool.
The blood found in the stool can be caused by various causes like ulcer,, esophageal varices or gastritis. If melena is diagnosed, the attending physician may ask for additional diagnostic tests to spot the exact site of the bleeding. Some of these tests that come for finding real cause of black stool and location inclue barium studies, stool culture, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, blood tests and x-rays.
Causes of Dark, black Stool in adults
There are diverse causes for dark stool, and usually it is caused by the diet that we intake. Deficiency in Vitamin B12 can also cause black bowel movement in adults. Taking iron supplement can also cause dark stool. However, the condition can also be due to the following diseases as well:
- Esophageal varices – these are dilated veins that are situated on the wall below the esophagus. When the veins begin to break, it may lead blood to emerge either through the stool or even vomit. This is a serious disease brought by portal hypertension through liver cirrhosis.
- Gastritis – This is a disease where there is irritation of the stomach lining caused by overconsumption of certain foods, such as spicy foods, alcohol, smoking or prolonged intake of NSAIDs. Gastritis can also trigger after a trauma or surgery and is also connected with other medical conditions.
- Bleeding Ulcer – this is similar to gastritis but there are varied origins for the bleeding ulcer. It is caused due a certain bacterium known as H. pylori or Helicobacter pylori. The infection is normally treated with antibiotics, depending on the level of severity. NSAIDs are proven to cause irritation to the stomach lining, causing bleeding ulcers, after protracted usage.
If black stool in adults is accompanied by acute symptoms and continues for many days, it is recommended to get in touch with your doctor to determine the main cause and initiate the best, suitable line of treatment.