Black Stools

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Reviewed By:

Aiko Yoshioka

Aiko Yoshioka, MD (Gastroenterology)

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People with these symptoms also use Ubie's symptom checker to find possible causes

  • Color of stool has become black

  • Stool is black like hair

  • Black stool came out only once

  • Poop is black like coal

  • Poop was black only once

  • Black shiny stools

  • Black, tarry stool

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Content updated on Sep 6, 2022

About the symptom

Black, shiny stool is also called Malena and is often also described as tarry in texture. It can be caused by bleeding in the gut or taking iron supplements.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Fever

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting with loss of consciousness

  • Sickly/pale appearance

  • Vomiting of blood

  • Unexplained weight loss of 5% or more in 1 month

  • Jaundice

  • Edema

  • Recent weight loss

Possible causes

  • Helicobacter pylori infection

    Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, is a bacteria that is commonly found in the stomach of approximately half the world's population.The vast majority of people have no symptoms. However, H. pylori is capable of causing a number of digestive problems, including ulcers and, rarely, stomach cancer. H. pylori bacteria may spread through direct contact with saliva, vomit, feces or contaminated food or water.

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

    A condition where normal liver is permanently damaged and replaced with scar issue. There are many different causes including infections, alcohol abuse and diabetes.

  • Gastroduodenal ulcer

    Ulcers can develop in the stomach and small intestines. In severe cases, the ulcers can cause bleeding or a hole in the gut wall. Common causes include the bacteria H. pylori, and painkillers such as Diclofenac.

  • Meckel's diverticulosis
  • Anemia
  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Gastric cancer
  • Epistaxis

Related serious diseases

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you have stools that are black (like hair) and shiny?

  • Do you have abdominal pain (stomach ache)?

  • Do you have loose stools or diarrhea?

  • Do you have nausea or vomiting?

  • Did you vomit blood?

Other Related Symptoms

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Reviewed By:

Aiko Yoshioka

Aiko Yoshioka, MD (Gastroenterology)

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

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