What does it mean if a person has coffee-ground-colored stools?

Answer

The passage of black stools is referred to as melena, according to the National Library of Medicine. Melena is the symptom of gastrointestinal bleeding, and it can often be a sign of an abdominal tumor.

Coffee-ground-colored stools can also be an indication of bleeding from the small intestines or the right colon, according to Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine. It takes approximately 100 to 200 mL of blood in the upper GI tract, which can occur for several days before it is noticed in a bowel movement. This bleeding can be detected through chemical testing of a stool sample. In some cases black stools that do not contain blood can be the result of iron supplements or bismuth.

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