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Dr. David
Dr. David, Doctor (MD)
Category: Oncology
Satisfied Customers: 46714
Experience:  Experienced Oncology Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
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I have a few questions about bowel movements. I have

Customer Question

I have a few questions about bowel movements. I have recently been having very dark bowel movements. I don't think they would be considered black because it looks dark brown on the toilet paper when I wipe. The consistency is solid and I don't have any unusual pain during the bowel movement. A few of my bowel movements have been half very dark brown in color and then the last part of it looks more yellowish to light brown in color. I am very concerned about colon cancer! I had a colonoscopy in December 2010 and one polyp was found in the transverse colon. It was a serrated polyp, but was benign. I just recently had another routine screening colonoscopy done in March 2015. The surgeon found a suspicious area close to the area where the first polyp was found back in 2010. It did not look like a polyp; however, the surgeon took 5 pieces of tissue for biopsy. The pathology report came back as multi focal erosion but no polyps were found.
I was diagnosed with a mildly fatty liver in April of 2014. Is this darker color I am seeing, actually black or is it just really dark brown? I have heard about black, tarry stools! Is this darker color I am seeing considered black? As I mentioned earlier, when I wipe it appears dark brown on the toilet paper. I have been trying to eat healthier and I have incorporated more fruits, vegetables and leafy greens into my diet. I have been eating more lettuce, kale and spinach over the last couple of months. Could eating these things cause darker stools?
One more thing; yesterday I had intestinal cramping, a lot of gas and stomach rumbling. (I had eaten BBQ pork ribs and corn on the cob the night before.). My bowel movement Monday morning was harder and more like pebbles. In the afternoon I had another bowel movement that was more normal shape, just a little more loose consistency. In the evening I passed a small amount of brown mucus that appeared a little blood tinged. (I also have a history of internal hemorrhoids.) I had a couple more bowel movements last night that were loose but not diarrhea. Today, I had a bowel movement that was more normal consistency, but was still very dark brown when it first started coming out, then changed to a yellow/light brown color at the end.
I have a history of high blood pressure, gall bladder problems, mild fatty liver, anxiety, herniated cervical disks and menopause.
Could my cramping and loose stool yesterday be a result of what I ate the night before?
What about the dark brown stools? Is that still considered to be normal? I am really concerned! Would it be a good thing for me to take a probiotic like culturelle?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Oncology
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
Hello, this is Dr. David. I have read your question and I'm ready to help.

I am a cancer doctor

it sounds like your stools are most likely dark brown.

colon cancer would cause active bleeding and cause red blood in your stools

your recent colonoscopy in March didn't show any colon cancer.

black tar like stools is caused by bleeding from above the small bowel up in the stomach or esophagus area.

a simple stool occult blood test would be able to check for blood in your stools

but dark brown stools is NOT a sign of colon cancer or bleeding.

hard pebble stools means you are not getting enough fruits and vegetables and fiber in your diet.

it sounds like you are letting your anxiety get out of control with worry here.

you have been checked recently with a colonoscopy with no colon cancer.

dark brown stools are normal.

it would be best for you to eat more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

you can take a probiotic in your diet once a day like Phillips Colon health probiotic if you would like

but it is more important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly and drink plenty of fluids to help your bowels

if your anxiety continues to be bad, you need to stop looking at your stools after bowel movement

also you might benefit from anti-anxiety medications to help decrease your anxiety and worry

let me know if you have questions.