Patient: One day I woke up with upper abdominal pain, I did visit a fair the day before and did not eat the smartest options for food. This abdominal pain lasted from Friday to Sunday. I didn’t have a fever and my stools were normal. I took Pepto Sunday and the day after my stool was black and tarry and I figured it was from the Pepto. Although, my last 2 stools today were dark green and I did notice a very small amount of white mucous on the end of my stool. I’ve been feeling fine since Monday but I don’t know what this mucous means. Is it normal? Should I be worried? I am bloated a bit but this is that time of the month so that’s probably what its from. Thank you
Symptoms: Dark green stool, mucous
Doctor: Thank you for writing to us.The green colour stool indicates the presence of bile which has not been reabsorbed by t he body. This usually happens in infection of the intestine. The white and frothy looking substance is fat that has not been absorbed.So overall, you have an infection of the intestine. Now, usually if you had Pepto-Bismol, regular gastritis would recover. But, you have a protozoal infection most probably and it may not have been from the day at the fair. It is possible you for it from a few days ago at another event or some improperly cooked meal.Now, the treatment is to see a Doctor and get your stool checked for protozoa or for parasites. Then, the Doctor will prescribe you the appropriate antiprotozoal drug.The black tarry stool can be from Upper GI tract bleeding or bleeding in the stomach. If you have attacks of acidity, please get that checked up as well.Wishing you a speedy recovery. All the best.
Comments / Follow Ups
Patient: Thank you for the answer. So I wouldn’t have colon cancer right? I’ve been researching and that sort of scares me. And may I ask, what exactly is a protozoal infection?
Doctor: Thank you for the follow-up.
The chances of having a colon cancer are very low in your case. And the symptoms do not start so acutely. Also, pain is almost always the last symptom in colon cancer. And never the first. Colon cancer which bleeds like in your case would produce frank red blood or blood with a pinkish colour but not black colour.
Protozoa are single-cell organism that are not exactly bacteria. Examples of this can be Giardia or entamoeba.
If the symptoms persist after the full course of treatment, you can get evaluated for other causes but the chances are minimal.