“Tarry black” stools defined by a doctor, NOT Yahoo Answers!

Once and for All, Here Is What Tarry Black Stools Look Like

“In the simplest sense, the stool has the look and consistency of tar used to pave the road,” says Matilda N. Hagan, MD, an inflammatory bowel disease specialist at The Center for Inflammatory Bowel and Colorectal Diseases, a part of The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

Have you ever seen small chunks or clumps of moist, solid tar on a freshly paved road? It doesn’t go from a hot liquid to solid dry concrete in an instant.

Remnants of tar do make their way off the side of a road while it’s being paved.

And if you’ve ever seen these clumps while they’re still somewhat wet, but not hardened and dried, you can almost imagine that stools might look something like this—if mixed with old blood from the upper colon.

Dr. Hagan explains, “This term [tarry stools] describes blood in the stool, especially blood that has been processed or digested from the upper intestinal tract.

“If you see black stool, you should consult a health care provider.”

Imagine taking a quarter cup of hot tar and mixing it with typical formed stools.

What would you see? This is more like what tarry black stools would look like, versus tossing in clumps of moist, partially solidified road tar into an empty toilet and pretending that this matter is a collection of poops.

“Tarry stools”

But don’t get caught up with the exact definition of “tarry.”

Black smeary stuff mixed with your BMs is an alarming sign—though this doesn’t always mean colon cancer.

A tarry look to your stools can mean an ulcer or side effects from medications.

Dr. Hagan is dedicated to collaborating with IBD specialists to discuss and explore advanced treatment options for the most complex inflammatory bowel disease cases.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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Top image: Shutterstock/Ronald Plett