Sometimes, having black balls in your stool doesn’t always mean there are underlying medical conditions. There are many reasons that can cause black balls in the stool, including some types of foods, spices, and some medications. In rare cases, black balls in the stool may also indicate a sign of a liver problem or gastrointestinal tract bleeding.
Color of your stool can be affected by many factors, such as your diet. However, if the black ball stool persists for several days, a person should contact a doctor for an immediate examination.
In this blog post, we look at the causes of black balls in stool and also provide treatment options.
Common Causes of Black Balls in Stool
There are many causes of black balls in stools. including:
Sometimes, your diet can play a sneaky role in turning your stool black. If you’ve recently indulged in foods like black licorice, blueberries, blood sausage, or even dishes with dark red food coloring, it can affect the color of your poop. The good news is that once these foods pass through your system, your stool will likely return to its regular color.
2. Iron Supplements
Taking iron tablets, which are essential for producing red blood cells, can also lead to black stool. While this change is a common side effect of iron supplements, it’s crucial to note that experiencing stomach pain while taking these pills is not normal. If you’re in pain, it’s best to reach out to a healthcare provider.
Certain medications, such as those containing bismuth, can be culprits behind black stool. A well-known example is bismuth subsalicylate, found in over-the-counter products like Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate, which help with issues like diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, and an upset stomach. Activated charcoal, used in cases of poisoning to trap harmful chemicals, can also turn your stool black.
4. Blood in Stool
If your stool is not just black but also has an unpleasant odor, it might be due to bleeding in your upper gastrointestinal tract. This happens because blood starts as red but darkens as it interacts with enzymes during digestion. The medical term for this situation is “melena,” and there are several reasons for it:
- Gastritis: Inflammation of your stomach lining can lead to bleeding if left untreated.
- Angiodysplasia of the Gastrointestinal Tract: Abnormally-formed blood vessels in your gastrointestinal tract can weaken and rupture, causing bleeding.
- Tumors: Both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in your gastrointestinal tract can weaken the lining, causing bleeding.
- Peptic Ulcer: Sores in your stomach or the first part of the small intestine can result in bleeding when they erode your stomach lining.
- Varices: Veins in your esophagus can become enlarged and irritated, leading to ruptures and bleeding.
- Esophagitis: Swelling of your esophageal lining can result in irritation and bleeding.
- Mallory-Weiss Tear: Intense coughing or vomiting can create small tears in your esophagus, which may bleed.
If your stool turns black due to bleeding, it’s crucial to address the underlying cause, as it could signal a more significant health issue. Reach out to a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and guidance.
Black Balls in Stool Treatment
The treatment option for black balls in stool depends on the cause. If your stool turns black after indulging in certain foods like black licorice, blueberries, or dishes with intense red food coloring, there’s typically no need to worry. Your stool should return to its regular color once these foods pass through your system. To prevent it from happening again, consider moderating your consumption of these items.
Black stool can also be a side effect of taking iron supplements or medications such as Pepto-Bismol. While this is a common occurrence, if you experience stomach pain while using these supplements or medications, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider. They can offer alternative treatments or adjust your current regimen to minimize any unwanted side effects.
If black stool is caused by bleeding, it’s vital to tackle the root cause promptly. Healthcare providers have several methods at their disposal to halt the bleeding:
- Endoscopy: A healthcare provider may conduct an endoscopy to identify and assess the source of the bleeding. During the procedure, they can take immediate action to stop the bleed. This may involve injecting medication, using a laser, or applying a band or clip to affected blood vessels.
- Surgery: In some cases, if the bleeding persists and the endoscopy is insufficient, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgery provides better access to the affected area, enabling healthcare providers to stop the bleed more effectively.
When to Talk to Your Doctor?
- When Blood Appears in Your Stool: Seeing blood in your stool is a sign that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It could be a signal of colonic bleeding, possibly due to various underlying reasons. Your doctor is the go-to person for tests, a proper diagnosis, and guidance on the right treatment plan.
- Dealing with Persistent Changes: It’s normal for your stool to vary from time to time. However, when you notice consistent abnormalities in your stool for weeks or longer, it’s time to consult your doctor. They can delve into the root cause and provide effective solutions.
- Coping with Intense Pain or Nausea: If you find yourself in severe discomfort, experiencing strong pain or recurring nausea alongside unusual stool changes, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider. These symptoms could be linked to digestive issues or underlying medical conditions that need in-depth evaluation and personalized care.
- Noticing Additional Symptoms: Stool irregularities, especially when they come bundled with other signs like fever, body aches, or unexplained discomfort, should not be overlooked. They might be hints pointing to a broader health concern that requires swift attention and diagnosis.
- Medication’s Influence on Your Stool: If you’ve recently started a new medication and your stool starts behaving differently, make sure to inform your doctor. Certain medications can affect your bowel movements. Your healthcare provider can adjust your treatment plan or recommend alternative options as needed.
It can be very strange to see that you are passing black stool. However, it is important to understand that black balls in stools can be caused by many factors. The treatment option greatly depends on the root cause. Remember to contact your doctor if the black stool persists for a few days. READ MORE: Yellow Balls in Stool: 7 Things You Should Never Ignore