When the color of the stool is black, it is termed as black bowel movement. Generally, stools appear brown in color, but change in appearance and color does indicate the existence of an underlying medical condition.
Formation of black stools is certainly a cause of great concern as it indicates the presence of blood in the stool. Occurrence of blood in the stools certainly cannot be taken lightly and is an indication of intestinal issues. Why blood is detected in the stool, is due to the following reasons:
Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)
Invasion of virus, mainly due to consumption of adulterated food, can cause an intestinal infection, often referred to as stomach flu. This condition affects both the stomach and the intestines in which the gastrointestinal tract gets inflamed and causes severe abdominal pain and black bowel movement. In some cases, ulcers (open wounds) form on the intestinal wall that bleed profusely. This may give rise to bloody diarrhea.
Broken blood vessels in the intestinal tract are actually responsible for causing internal bleeding. When blood vessels get damaged, they are no longer able to carry the blood properly and hence some amount of blood is lost, which may mix with the stool and make it black and tarry. Internal bleeding in the form of bloody diarrhea cannot be overlooked and may become life-threatening, if appropriate medical treatment is not given on time.
Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBD)
This is a digestive disorder that causes inflammation of the intestine. The intestinal wall turns red and becomes irritated. In severe cases of IBD, formation of ulcers severely damage the intestinal wall. When ulcers bleed profusely, bowel movement produces black stools. IBD interferes with the body's ability to digest food properly. In this condition the digestive system is no longer able to absorb nutrients appropriately from food.
This is a disease involving the large intestine, wherein the pouches (diverticula) that are seen bulging out of the intestinal wall, get swollen and infected. In other words, the infection of the diverticula is referred to as diverticulitis. Diverticula, occurring in older adults are abnormal skin growth that slightly change the structure of the large intestine. When the inflammation is severe, it can cause intense abdominal pain and bleeding from the rectal area. As a result, blood gets mixed in the stools making them black and tarry.
Keep in mind, yellow bowel movement is related with indigestion of food. With lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, these digestive issues can be eliminated. However, defecating black stools cannot be ignored as it is an indicator of internal bleeding which requires immediate medical treatment.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.