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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2592
Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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Since Saturday, December 31, everytime I go to the bathroom,

Customer Question

Since Saturday, December 31, everytime I go to the bathroom, my stools are black. My lower back area is painful? Do I need to see my a doctor
JA: How long have you had the pain? What seems to make the pain better or worse?
Customer: Since the week of Christmas. If I lay down it helps somewhat. I have been diagnosed with diverticulosis. I am mainly concerned that since last Saturday my stools are black. Thought they would have cleared up by now.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: I have acid reflus disease (stomach was wrapped end of esophagus as I don't have a sphinter muscle) and my gall bladder removed. Am allergic to wheat, cobalt, and nuts.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Captain replied 7 months ago.


Welcome to the question/answer interface.

I am a Family Medicine doctor, board certified with active licenses and certification in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as Integrative Medicine & Naturopathy, with advanced training in Neurology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, and Psychiatry. I am also well-trained in Functional Medicine. — For your review, here is my direct link with my current ratings:

— I have read your post and observations about the black stools and your lower back pains! You're quite smart to be concerned bout the black stools, particularly with a history of acid reflux and diverticulosis. Would you prefer a summary response to your question, or would you prefer more back-and-forth, where there will be a series of more questions and more details clarified? There is no difference in charges for your preference. You can continue to ask questions and receive answers without additional charges.

Either way, the goal is for your satisfaction, and I’ll do my best to take the appropriate time to help you.

— In case you were not aware, there is no charge for the time it takes for us to reach an answer that meets your satisfaction. I generally try not to rush any answers, and I hope you will not feel rushed either.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
would prefer a summary response.
Expert:  Dr. Captain replied 7 months ago.

You got it!

Expert:  Dr. Captain replied 7 months ago.

The most concerning source of black (even tarry or sticky) stools is the potential for it to be caused by blood which has been digested inside the stomach. This typically suggests, indirectly, that there could be bleeding either in the stomach or above it, perhaps in the lower esophagus. For the occasions where patients have known reflux disease, sometimes the overproduction of acid, or acid which sprays up from the stomach into the lower esophagus, can cause tissue injury that can then lead to bleeding, which may end up being digested inside the stomach. There are, of course, many other possibilities for black stools, including healthy/normal digestion of certain foods or medicines, normal digestion of certain leafy green vegetables, or other nutrients, but in my opinion, it's worth making sure this is not caused by blood, first.

Expert:  Dr. Captain replied 7 months ago.

Do you have access to local doctors who could see you for an evaluation of these black stools? That would be an appropriate next step, to collect a more detailed history, perform a physical exam, and consider some important laboratory testing to make sure your blood levels are healthy and not alarming.