Tar stools refer to those dark red or black stool samples. They are also often known as bloody stools OR manes and are usually the product of bleeding or any type of injury in the gastrointestinal tract.
Not all cases of tarry stools indicate a serious problem, despite its alarming appearance and fetid smell. In fact, stools sometimes darken from taking dark foods, iron supplements, or Pepto-Bismol medications.
The attention and analysis of this fecal matter It can be decisive for the diagnosis of some serious diseases. For this reason it is important to know what they mean, what pathologies they are related to and how their treatment should be.
What does tarry stool mean? What are your causes?
To know what tarry stools mean, you need to learn how to differentiate the types of bleeding in stools that can occur. In many cases the blood is hidden in the faeces and it cannot be detected with the naked eye. Therefore, to determine this, a test known as test of guaiac.
Types of bleeding in stool
- Tarry stools: they are also called manes and are black, fetid-smelling stools whose main cause is usually upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Hematochezia: it is a combination of light and dark blood in the stool.
- rectal bleeding: They appear light in color and can be caused by lower gastrointestinal bleeding or hemorrhoids.
Causes of tarry stools
The appearance of tarry or black stools usually indicates this the blood comes from the upper part of the gastrointestinal tractthat is, the region that includes the esophagus, the stomach and the first part of the small intestine.
Blood often takes on a tar-like appearance after being exposed to digestive juices. Some common triggers are:
- Trauma or infection.
- Bleeding ulcers in the stomach.
- Abnormal blood vessels (vascular malformations).
- Inflammation of the stomach lining or gastritis.
- Large bulging veins in the intestine or esophagus (varicose veins).
- Interruption of blood supply to part of the intestine (intestinal ischemia).
- Tears in the esophagus due to very violent vomiting (tear of Mallory Weiss).
It is worth mentioning that there are other factors that can turn stool black. For example, iron supplements and bismuth medications can cause it. Also, they are sometimes the product of ingesting black licorice or blueberries. In these cases, the doctor should examine the stool with a chemical to rule out blood.
Treatment for tarry stools
Tarry stool treatment It varies according to the pathology or lesion that causes them. Second information of the American Cancer Society (AC extension), patients suffering from hemorrhoids can reduce bleeding by using doctor-recommended laxatives.
Other measures used in this type of case are sitz baths and corticosteroid ointments. When bleeding is due to bleeding ulcers, your doctor may prescribe antacid medications. If it is caused by inflammatory bowel conditions or infections, treatment may include antibiotics and immunosuppressants.
Because in some cases the bleeding doesn’t stop on its own, surgery is sometimes needed. Generally, this measure is taken due to venous blockages or abnormalities in the system. A blood transfusion may also be suggested if bleeding is profuse.
Bloody stools are sometimes caused by polyps in the colon. These almost always indicate precancerous conditions or cancer in patients. If this type of diagnosis is confirmed the professional suggests surgery to remove the polyps, or chemotherapy and radiation therapy, if needed.
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