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Dr. Anil Kumar
Dr. Anil Kumar, General Physician
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 6470
Experience:  M.D. with over 30 years of experience in practice.
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My stool went from normal brown to black seemingly at once.

Customer Question

My stool went from normal brown to black seemingly at once. Not tarry or foul smelling, same shape and size as is normal for me and same frequency, but very dark/black with a touch of green. This was all yesterday. My first this morning seemed lighter in color than yesterday, but still darker. I can't think of anything in terms of diet, except possibly more spinach than is normal for me (two large salads the past couple days) some eggplant which I don't normally eat, and some halloween candy that was lying around that I don't typically eat, and 3 glasses red wine. Also my stress and anxiety has been through the roof the past few days. Is this something I should rush to the doctor for or see how the rest of the day goes? As I said, first one today seemed lighter, more of a very dark brown as opposed to black/green.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Anil Kumar replied 8 months ago.
Hello,

I understand your concern and it's my first priority to serve you.
As your stools frequency is fine and if you have no associated vomiting,pain abdomen then it's most likely that excessive amount of spinach intake could be the possible cause of dark black stools with green tint.
The green color of the stool usually indicates that your stool is passing through the intestine faster than normal .
The green color is due the bile.
As bile makes it way through the intestine it progressively changes its color from green to yellow to brown.
When the stool passes through the intestine faster than normal it does not allow time for these changes to occur and the stools are green in color as a result.
Black stool usually indicates bleeding in the upper part of the gut.
If you have history of acid reflux,pain abdomen,frequent painkiller use,excessive alcohol consumption then these can be contributing factor in upper GI bleeding and it may require an urgent medical attention.

However some other things like consuming black licorice , lead, iron pills, bismuth medicines like pepto bismol, or blueberries can also cause black stools.

Having said this,you should take test called Stool for Occult Blood to exclude the potentially dangerous upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
If your symptoms are persistent you should be seen and stool test for occult blood should be done.


I hope this helps.
Please rate me highly if you are satisfied with our conversation.
If you have any further query we can discuss it.
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Thank you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Well... I just had my "post coffee mid morning" bowel movement and it was back to what has been normal for me. Regular size/shape and medium brown color. Also no history of acid relfux or any of the other things mentioned. With that information would you say probably safe to not see the doctor for this? I think I just over reacted.

Expert:  Dr. Anil Kumar replied 8 months ago.
Well probably the diet had resulted in transient change in stool colour.

Now if the colour is normal chances are you over reacted.


Still keep an eye on stool colour for 2-3 days and if black stools are observed you should visit your doctor for further testing.

I hope this helps
Dr. Anil Kumar, General Physician
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 6470
Experience: M.D. with over 30 years of experience in practice.
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