Black stools: The ‘most common cause of black and tarry poop’ – what else it could mean

Dr Amir Khan discusses health benefits of house plants

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If, for example, the poo is black and tarry, it may be a sign that the person in question has ingested either iron supplements or a medicine containing a chemical known as bismuth.

Bismuth can normally be found in medicine such as Pepto-Bisomol.

Alternatively, it may be a sign that the body is losing blood elsewhere, specifically, inside the gastrointestinal track, in the stomach or small intestine according to John Hopkins Medicine.

Furthermore, John Hopkins Medicine recommends that an individual should keep an eye on their poo if it changes, shape, changes colour, oily or greasy, or pencil thin.

When a person has a poo can also be important.

In fact, it can be life-saving.

A change in bowel-habit can be one of the signs of bowel cancer.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include bleeding from the bottom, blood in the poo, a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, and a pain or lump in the tummy.

While these are all signs of bowel cancer, experienced separately they may not be cancer.

For example, blood in a person’s poo could be a sign of internal gastrointestinal bleeding while unexplained weight loss is a symptom of other cancers.

With regards to bowel habit Bowel Cancer UK says there could be a number of reasons for this.

“Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels in your back passage,” says the charity.

The charity lists a number of other conditions that some symptoms of bowel cancer might be.

Constipation, diarrhoea, piles, anal fissures, diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are all possible conditions that symptoms of bowel cancer may point towards.

However, just because these symptoms may not be cancer, does not mean someone should leave them alone.

It is far better to get the symptoms checked and for it not to be cancer, than to leave it and find out there was something that could have been done about it earlier.

In recent weeks Prostate Cancer UK have been running a campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer among men.

Prostate cancer is very hard to spot early as it doesn’t elicit symptoms until it has developed further.

As a result, Prostate Cancer UK has created a 30 second checker where men can find out their risk of developing the condition and then act accordingly.

A link to the checker can be find here, along with more information the symptoms of the condition.

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