What Causes Black Bowel Movements?


Asked by Lorraine

What Causes Black Bowel Movements?

What causes black bowel movements?


Hello, Lorraine; thank you for posting.

Sometimes, BMs seem to be black, but they are really not; they can be a reflection of a variety of dark products that we recently consumed. Digested cooked spinach, purple grape juice, and beets are good examples.

However, truly black stools, also often described as looking like tar, are suspect of upper GI bleeding, as blood, when digested, turns black.

If you are concerned that your BMs look black, or tarry, make a "first available" appointment with your doctor. If you are having severe pain as well, you should be seen at an urgent care center, or an E.R.


You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.