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Dark stool Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Dark stool. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had dark stools?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Explain the nature of the dark stool?

    Why: to determine if true melena ( black tarry sticky stool with strong odor) due to gastrointestinal hemorrhage or false melena due to ingestion of certain substances.

  3. Past medical history?

    Why: causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding e.g. peptic ulcer, reflux oesophagitis, esophageal varices, stomach cancer, blood clotting disorders.

  4. Medication?

    Why: oral iron therapy , bismuth-containing antacid tablets and charcoal ingestion can cause dark colored stool and be confused with the black tarry stool due to gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

  5. Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, anticoagulant therapy, reserpine, caffeine and high dose corticosteroids can increase risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding
  6. Alcohol history?

    Why: Alcohol induced cirrhosis can increase the risk of peptic ulcers, gastro-esophageal varices.

  7. Recent dietary history

    Why: some foods can cause dark-colored stool and are not true melena e.g. red wine, licorice, beetroot.

  8. Family history?

    Why: e.g. bleeding disorders, peptic ulcer.

  9. Hematemesis (vomiting blood) or coffee-ground vomit (black dots like coffee grounds in vomit)?

    Why: suggests bleeding from the esophagus, stomach, duodenum e.g. esophageal varices, peptic ulcer, gastritis.

  10. Fainting and sweating?

    Why: may be signs of shock and thus indicate a sudden loss of blood volume.

  11. Indigestion, heart burn or stomach pains recently?

    Why: suggests peptic ulcer, gastoesophageal reflux, oesophagitis, gastritis, stomach cancer, mesenteric embolism or thrombosis or Meckel's diverticulum.

  12. Symptoms of stomach cancer?

    Why: e.g. early satiety, loss of appetite, weight loss.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Dark stool:

The following list of conditions have 'Dark stool' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Dark stool or choose View All.

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